Family sues local plants after man's cancer death

By Marilyn Tennissen | Jun 4, 2007

J. Keith Hyde

Johnie Crocker Jr. worked as an operator and shift foreman at Texaco Butadiene Company at its Port Neches facility and now his survivors says the work was the cause of the cancer that took his life.

On May 31, Kathryn Crocker and sons Larry and Johnie D. Crocker, filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County District Court against Chevron USA Inc. and Texaco Inc.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, during Willie LeBlue's employment he was exposed to toxic materials including asbestos dust and/or fibers.

"As a result of such exposure, Johnie Crocker Jr., developed an asbestos-related disease, specifically lung cancer, for which he died a painful and terrible death on April 23, 2006," the petition states.

The plaintiff alleges that the defendants acted with malice and/or gross neglect.

"The defendant knew for decades that asbestos-containing products could cause the disease of asbestosis and asbestos-related cancers and still allowed its employees, such as Johnie Crocker Jr. to work with and around asbestos products in the workplace," the petition states.

The company failed to timely and adequately warn the workers of the dangers of asbestos, failed to take the necessary engineering, safety and other precautionnd s and provide adequate training to prevent exposure.

"As a result of the aformementioned malice and/or gross neglect of the defendant, plaintiff seeks claims for all elements of damages allowable under the law including exemplary damages anad seek to recover from the defendant an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits of the court," the plaintiff said.

The family is represented by J. Keith Hyde and is demanding a trial by jury.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham of the 58th District Court.

Case No. E179-403

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