The widow of William Ratcliff has filed a benzene suit against Texaco and Chevron USA, claiming the companies negligently exposed him to the hazardous chemical.

Billie Ratcliff filed the suit Nov.16 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the lawsuit, Ratcliff was employed by Texaco, where was exposed to benzene. No dates of employment are given.

"As a result of such exposure, William Ratcliff developed multiple myeloma from which he died a painful and terrible death on April 12, 2011," the suit states.

The suit also alleges the defendant knew for decades that benzene exposure caused blood disorders but still allowed employees to work with asbestos products.

The plaintiff is suing for exemplary damages.

Attorney Keith Hyde of the Beaumont law firm Provost Umphrey represent the plaintiff.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. B191-359

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