The wife and child of a deceased man have filed suit against his former employer, alleging he died from pulmonary asbestosis and lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos dust throughout his career.

Willie Mae Defee and Michael Lee Defee claim their husband and father, Luther Defee, worked for defendants Pure Oil now known as Unocal and Chevron in Jefferson County.

Throughout his employment, Luther Defee was exposed to asbestos dust, causing him to develop an asbestos-related disease, pulmonary asbestosis and lung cancer, according to the complaint filed May 18 in Jefferson County District Court.

Because of his diseases, Luther Defee died "a painful and terrible death" on Sept. 14, the suit states.

The plaintiffs blame the defending companies for causing their husband's and child's death, saying they knew of the dangers of asbestos fibers, but still allowed Luther Defee to work around them.

In addition, the companies failed to warn of the dangers of asbestos fibers in the workplace and failed to take necessary engineering precautions, the complaint says.

The plaintiffs are seeking exemplary and punitive damages, plus interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just.

J. Keith Hyde and D'Juana Parks of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing them.

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

Jefferson County District Court case number: A186-900.

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