A Galveston County couple has sued a group of oil companies, alleging gross negligence in the husband’s development of a chronic illness.

Leon Smith Jr. and Joyce Smith of La Marque filed a lawsuit Feb. 24 in Galveston County District Court against BP Amoco Chemical Company, BP Corporation North America Inc., BP Products North America Inc., and Exxon Mobil Corporation, citing negligence and fraudulent concealment.

According to the complaint, Leon Smith was employed as a painter and in other capacities in Amoco’s Texas City location between 1957 and 1970 and at its Chocolate Bayou location from 1970 until 1989. The suit states he was unknowingly exposed to hazardous chemicals including benzene, and his employer was aware of the chemical emissions’ presence on their premises.

Smith developed chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the suit states, and the defendants were negligent in not protecting Smith from the environmental hazards. Because Smith had physical contact with the chemical, the plaintiffs consider the infringement to be battery and assault, and invoke the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.

The suit says Smith experienced pain and suffering, disability, organ damage, emotional distress and loss of consortium.

The Smiths seek exemplary and punitive damages, attorney fees, expenses and costs. They are represented by attorneys Lance Lubel of Lubel Voyles in Houston, and Tina Bradley of Hobson & Bradley in Beaumont.

Galveston County District Court case number 15-CV-0181


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