Pipefitter's family blames death on benzene

Kelly Holleran Dec. 6, 2011, 2:25am

Four Texas residents have filed suit against DuPont De Nemours and 33 other companies, alleging the companies caused a man's death from leukemia by exposing him to benzene.

Anthony L. Volentine, Janell Volentine Hamilton, Sandy Volentine Smith and Randall Volentine claim the recently deceased Travis Volentine was exposed to benzene throughout his career as a pipefitter from 1948 until November 1980. Because of this exposure, Travis Volentine developed chronis lymphocytic leukemia, according to the complaint filed Nov. 23 in Jefferson County District Court.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs name Atlantic Richfield Company, B.P. Exploration and Oil, B.P. Products North America, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, Chevron U.S.A., E.I. DuPont De Nemours, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Goodrich corporation, Mobil Oil Refining Corporation, PPG Industries, Tin, Inc., Texaco, Total Petrochemicals, Union Oil Company of California and Velsicol Chemical Corporation as premises defendants.

Employer defendants named are Beazer East; Bechtel Corporation, Blount Bothers Construction, C.A. Turner Construction Company, Fluor Corporation, Fluor Maintenance Services; Ford, Bacon and Davis; 4520 Corp.; Foster Wheeler Energy Corporation; Foster Wheeler USA Corporation; Kellogg, Brown and Root; Lummus Technology; Natkin and Company; The Shaw Group; and Treco Construction Services.
Radiator specialty Company and United States Steel Corporation are named as purveyor defendants.

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

Because of his exposure to the products, Travis Volentine 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 Travis Volentine'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. B191-389.

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