Family sues Chevron for worker's benzene exposure

By David Yates | Apr 21, 2008

Provost Umphrey attorney Keith Hyde filed a benzene suit on the behalf of a widow who lost her husband to leukemia last year.

Louise Thibodeaux, the widow of former refinery worker Joseph Thibodeaux, filed her suit against Chevron USA and Texaco on April 16 in the Jefferson County District Court, claiming the oil companies negligently and maliciously exposed her late husband to benzene.

Hyde also filed an asbestos lawsuit against Chevron the same day on behalf of a widow who alleged the company was responsible for her husband's asbestos-related illness (Mary Clana vs. Chevron, Case No. B181-604).

According to the plaintiff's petition, Joseph worked for Texaco, where he was exposed to toxic benzene.

"As a result of such exposure, Joseph … developed Myelodysplastic Syndrome, from which he died a painful and terrible death on July 8, 2007," the suit said.

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

The suit goes on to say Chevron and Texaco acted with "malice" and "gross neglect," alleging the companies "failed to timely and adequately warn workers of the dangers of asbestos and take the necessary engineering, safety, industrial hygiene and medical precautions and provide adequate warning and training to ensure that the deceased was not exposed to the asbestos-containing products."

"As a result of the aforementioned malice and/or gross neglect of the Defendants, Plaintiffs seek claims for all elements of damages allowable under the law including exemplary damages and seek to recover from the Defendants, an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits of this Court," the suit added.

"Further, Plaintiffs seek a claim for prejudgment interest for all elements allowed him."

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District.

Case No. E181-603

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