80 companies named in refinery worker's benzene suit

Kelly Holleran Oct. 26, 2010, 6:10am

A Groves man blames his lymphoma to his exposure to workplace chemicals and has filed suit against more than 80 companies.

Leo Foreman, and his wife, Sherrie, filed a lawsuit Oct. 14 in Jefferson County District Court against Chevron and 80 other companies.

The Foremans claim Leo Foreman worked on industrial refinery and chemical plant facilities at Texaco, DuPont Beaumont Works, Gulf Oil and Arco Polymers in Port Arthur and Port Neches beginning in the 1970s.

Throughout Leo Foreman's employment, he became exposed to carcinogenic benzene and benzene-containing products, according to the complaint.

Because of his exposure to the products, Leo Foreman developed the lymphoma and experienced physical pain, suffering and mental anguish; lost wages and his earning capacity; and suffered physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of society and loss of consortium, the suit states.

The defendants are Amoco Chemical, Amoco Oil, Atlantic Richfield, Arco Oil & Gas, BF Goodrich, BASF, Borg Warner, Beazer East, Bridgestone/Firestone, Chevron USA, Conoco, Continental Oil, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, Eastman Chemical, ExxonMobil Corp., ExxonMobil Oil, Fina Oil & Chemical, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Hobscht-Celanese, ICI Americas, Industrial Solvents Corp., Texaco Additive Co., Lubrizol and Lyondell Petrochemical.

And Mitsubishi International, Mobil Chemical, Mobil Oil, Monsanto, Neochem, Candadianoxy Offshore, Oxy Chemical, Oxy Petro-Chemicals, Oxy USA, Occidental Chemical Co., Phillips Petroleum, Phillips 66, Polysar, Bayer Corp., Quantum Chemical, Huntsman Polymers, Shell Chemical, Shell Oil, Sun Co., Sun Refining, El Paso Tennessee PIpeline, EPEC Corp., Petro-Tex Chemical, Texaco Chemical, Texaco Inc., Texaco Refining & Marketing and Texas Olefins Co.

Also Dow Chemical, Union Oil, Union Texas Petrochemicals, Union Texas Products, Union Carbide, Uniroyal, Synpol, Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co., Michelin North America, Condea Vista, EPEC Oil, Huntsman Petrochemical, Bayer Corp., BP Amoco Chemical, Cain Chemical, ConocoPhillips Co., Equistar Chemicals, Formose Plastics, GE Petrochemical, Lyondell Chemical, Millennium Petrochemicals, Mitsui & Co., Pharmacia Corp., Sasol North America, Texas Petrochemicals, Vinmar, Westlake Chemical and Sabic Petrochemicals Holding US.

The Foremans blame the defendants for causing Leo Foreman's death, saying the companies knew the products around which Leo Foreman worked could cause cancer but still allowed their plaintiffs to work around the products.

In addition, the defending companies failed to warn their workers of the dangers of benzene exposure and failed to take necessary safety precautions to ensure that Leo Foreman was not exposed to carcinogenic materials, the complaint says.

"Such defendants have not only demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice human beings such as Leo Foreman, but they have inexcusably neglected to utilize available technology and methods, and neglected to develop new technology and methods, and made no efforts to ascertain the dangers of their chemical fallout into the neighborhood and the workplace," the suit states.

In their complaint, the Foremans seek damages in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits, plus interest and other relief the court deems just.

Darren Brown of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing them.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E188-612

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