Judge orders benzene defendants into mediation with plaintiffs

David Yates Sep. 1, 2011, 4:56am


A local judge on Wednesday ordered Texaco and several other companies into mediation with plaintiff Mark Majors, who sued over benzene exposure.

As previously reported, Mark Majors and his wife Sylvia filed their suit Oct. 13, 2010, in Jefferson County District Court, alleging the defendants negligently exposed Mark to benzene, inflicting him with cancer.

The other defendants named in the suit include American Cyanamid, Huntsman Petrochemical and Wyeth Holdings.

A second suit against a total of 28 companies was filed in January in Judge Gary Sanderson's 60th District Court.

Court records show that the plaintiffs filed a motion for court ordered mediation on Aug. 23.

"Because this is a multi-party case, logistical difficulties exist in bringing counsel together to explore the prospects for settlement," the motion states.

According to Judge Bob Wortham's Aug. 31 order, the parties will meet with court appointed mediator Greg Thompson on Oct. 20.

Court records show Majors worked at the Port Neches refinery in the 1970s. All the defendants have at one time or another owned the refinery.

"During Mark Majors' employment at the Port Neches chemical plant he was occupationally exposed to ... benzene though the late 1970s," the suit states. "As a result of such exposure, Majors developed multiple myeloma, a deadly cancer."

The plaintiffs are represented by Provost Umphrey attorney Darren Brown.

Case No. A188-591
Case No. 189-181

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