A Port Arthur widow is suing Chevron U.S.A. for "maliciously" exposing her late husband to asbestos which caused his "painful and terrible death."

Earnestine Alexander, the surviving spouse of Herman Alexander, filed her suit with the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 22.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, during Alexander's employment as a laborer with the Gulf Oil Corporation at its Port Arthur refinery, he used and was exposed to toxic materials including asbestos dust and fibers.

"As a result of such exposure, Herman Alexander, developed an asbestos-related disease for which he died a painful and terrible death on June 24, 2007," the suit said.

The Port Arthur facility was Gulf Oil's first refinery, started in 1907 after the Spindletop Gusher discovery. Gulf merged with Chevron in 1984. The local refinery is now operated by Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.

"The defendants knew for decades that asbestos-containing products could cause the disease of asbestosis and asbestos-related cancers and still allowed their employees, such as Alexander, to work with and around asbestos products in the workplace."

Earnestine, and her Provost Umphrey lawyer Keith Hyde, accuse Chevron of failing to warn workers of the dangers of asbestos or protect them, the suit said.

"The defendants failed to take the necessary engineering, safety, industrial hygiene and other precautions and provide adequate warning and training to ensure that the deceased was not exposed to the asbestos-containing products," the suit said.

Earnestine is suing for punitive and exemplary damages.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. D180-571

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