David Yates Dec. 9, 2013, 6:00pm

In February, the widow of Ernest Lewis filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil and Mobil Oil Refining, claiming the companies negligently exposed him to the hazardous chemical benzene.

Last week, a certificate of discovery was filed, showing that the investigative phase of the litigation has begun. 

As previously reported, Artie Lewis filed the suit Feb. 4 in Jefferson County District Court.

Court records show that on Dec. 4 the plaintiff served the defendant with her first set of interrogatories and requests for production, disclosure and admissions.

The lawsuit alleges that Ernest Lewis was employed by ExxonMobil, where he was exposed to benzene. No dates of employment are given.

“As a result of such exposure, Ernest Lewis developed multiple myeloma from which he died a painful and terrible death on Oct. 10, 2012,” the suit states.

The suit also alleges the defendants knew for decades that benzene exposure caused blood disorders but still allowed employees to work with benzene products.

Artie Lewis is suing for exemplary damages.

Attorney J. Keith Hyde of the Beaumont law firm Provost Umphrey represent her.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. B193-888

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