Local woman claims husband's death due to benzene exposure, sues Texaco

By Kelly Holleran | Feb 3, 2009

A Jefferson County woman whose husband allegedly died after being exposed to toxic and benzene containing products has filed suit against his former employer.

Jacquelyn Steen claims her husband, Larry John Steen, worked for Pure Oil at its Jefferson County facility when he was exposed to toxic and carcinogenic benzene and benzene-containing products.

As a result of his exposure, Larry John Steen developed leukemia and multiple myeloma from which he died "a painful and terrible death" on June 8, according to the complaint filed Jan. 26 in Jefferson County District Court.

Before his death, Larry John Steen experienced physical pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress and incurred medical expenses, the suit states.

He also lost his earning capacity and suffered disfigurement, Jacquelyn Steen alleges.

Because of Larry John Steen's death, Jacquelyn Steen suffered mental anguish, loss of consortium, loss of society, loss of services, loss of support, loss of inheritance, pecuniary loss and punitive damages, according to the complaint.

Defendants Texaco Chemical Co., TRMI Holdings and Union Oil Company of California knew the benzene-containing products could cause cancer, yet they still allowed their employees to work around the products, the suit states.

The companies showed neglect by exposing Larry John Steen to the products and by failing to warn workers of the dangers of the chemicals, Jacquelyn Steen claims.

Jacquelyn Steen is seeking unspecified exemplary and punitive damages, plus interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief to which she may be entitled.

Darren L. Brown and J. Keith Hyde of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing her.

The case has been assigned to District Judge Milton Shuffield of the 136th District Court.

Case No. D183-122

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