Widow of chemical plant worker sues 12 companies over husband's benzene exposure

By Kelly Holleran | Feb 19, 2013

During his work as a "long-term employee" for Jefferson Chemical/Texaco Chemical Co., Jefferson County resident Donald Harrison’s spouse claims her recently deceased husband was exposed to benzene, causing him to develop non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

On Feb. 11, Donald Harrison’s wife, Joann Harrison, filed suit against American Cyanamid and 11 other companies in Jefferson County District Court, alleging they negligently exposed Donald Harrison to benzene despite being aware of the dangers.

The other defendants include Cytec, Wyeth Holdings, Amoco Chemical Co., Amoco Oil Co., Atlantic Richfield Co., B.P. Amoco Chemical Co., B.P. Products North America, Chevron, Shell Chemical Company, Shell Chemical and Shell Oil.

According to the lawsuit, Donald Harrison worked at the Port Neches chemical plant during the mid 1970s as a contractor and "was occupationally exposed to various toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, including but not limited to, benzene, benzene-containing products and other carcinogens."

As a result of his exposure to the various chemicals, Donald Harrison developed non-Hodkins Lymphoma, his wife claims.

The suit alleges the defendants negligently failed to warn customers and workers of the dangers of benzene despite having actual knowledge.

Joann Harrison is seeking damages for her husband’s alleged medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, impairment, disfigurement and lost wages and for her own mental anguish, medical costs, loss of her husband's society and household services and costs for nursing care.

They are represented by Beaumont attorney Darren L. Brown of the Provost Umphrey law firm.

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

Case No. D193-930

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