DuPont, Total, others named in benzene suit

Kelly Holleran Oct. 17, 2011, 11:20am

Two Texas residents have filed suit against DuPont De Nemours and 24 other companies, alleging the companies caused a man's death from leukemia by exposing him to benzene.

Minnie Carolyn McDonald and Melissa Michelle Nix claim the recently deceased James McDonald was exposed to benzene throughout his career as a pipefitter from 1971 until November 1980. Because of this exposure, James McDonald developed lymphocytic leukemia, according to the complaint filed Oct. 7 in Jefferson County District Court.

In the complaint, McDonald and Nix name Arco Chemical Company, B.P. Exploration and Oil, B.P. Products North America, Chevron U.S.A., E.I. DuPont De Nemours, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Mobil Oil Refining Corporation, Texaco, T.I.N. Inc., Total Petrochemicals, Union Carbide Corporation and Union Oil Company of California as premises defendants.

Employer defendants named are Beazer East; Cheif Constructors; Delta International; Ford, Bacon and Davis; Foster Wheeler Energy Corporation; Kellogg, Brown and Root; The Litwin Corporation; Lummus Technology; Procon Incorporated; The Shaw Group; and Stone and Webster Engineering.

The plaintiffs blame the defendants for causing James McDonald's death, saying the premises companies negligently allowed James McDonald to work in what they knew to be an unsafe workplace. The employer defendants negligently enabled James McDonald to work around products containing benzene that they knew to be hazardous to his health, the suit states.

Because of his exposure to the products, James McDonald experienced great physical pain, suffering and mental anguish and incurred medical costs before his death. In addition, he suffered physical impairments and was prevented in participating in his normal activities, the complaint says.

The plaintiffs claim they have lost James McDonald's society, love and affection; have experienced mental anguish and grief; and have incurred funeral and burial expenses.

They are seeking compensatory damages, plus costs, interest at the legal rate and other relief the court deems just.

They will be represented by Joseph C. Blanks of Hobson Blanks in Doucette.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Case No. B191-162

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