Sanctions hearing against defendants in benzene case reset

By David Yates | Nov 14, 2011

A hearing for sanctions against two benzene defendants slated to take place on Monday morning has been reset.

As previously reported, on Aug. 1 Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, ordered Texaco and several other companies into mediation with plaintiff Mark Majors, who sued over benzene exposure.

Mark Majors and his wife, Sylvia, filed their suit Oct. 13, 2010, in Jefferson County District Court, alleging Majors developed cancer because the defendants negligently exposed him to benzene.

Court records show that the parties meet with a court appointed mediator on Oct. 20.

However, defendants Sabine Towing & Transportation and Sequa Corp. attended only through their attorney, Bill Mahely of Houston.

According to the plaintiffs' motion for sanctions filed Nov. 3, the two defendants "failed to have a person in attendance with authority to enter into a final settlement agreement, causing the mediation to be a complete waste of time."

The hearing was slated to be held on Monday morning but was reset for next week to allow the parties more time to settle the issue, a court official told the Southeast Texas Record.

Case background

According to court documents, Majors worked at a Port Neches refinery in the 1970s.

"During Mark Majors' employment at the Port Neches chemical plant he was occupationally exposed to ... benzene though the late 1970s," the suit states. "As a result of such exposure, Majors developed multiple myeloma, a deadly cancer."

The plaintiffs are represented by Provost Umphrey attorney Darren Brown.

Case No. A188-591

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