SimmonsCooper files new Benzene case

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 22, 2005, 8:08am

Ted Gianaris

A man who developed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) last year filed a $900,000 suit in Madison County Circuit Court claiming 68 defendants were responsible for his illness which was caused by exposure to benzene.

In the suit filed June 21, Damon Sinars claims he was exposed to benzene and benzene-containing products manufactured or sold by companies such as Armor All, BP Amoco, Chevron Texaco, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil, Turtle Wax, WD-40 and Whirlpool.

Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is produced by the burning of natural products. It is a component of products derived from coal and petroleum and is found in gasoline and other fuels and is used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.

Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.

Sinars alleges that the defendants’ agreed to suppress or minimize knowledge of the hazards of benzene, so they could market products they knew were dangerous.

According to the complaint, the defendants' benzene products:

  • Contained toxic benzene even though alternatives were available;

  • Did not contain any or adequate warnings about the dangers of inhaling, ingesting or otherwise absorbing benzene; and

  • Did not contain instructions concerning the safe methods of working with and around the benzene products.

    Sinars claims his exposure to benzene caused him to spend money on healthcare services and suffer great physical pain and mental anguish. He also states that he has been hindered from pursuing his normal course of employment, causing a loss of wages.

    “The defendants knew that their conduct created a substantial risk that people such as Sinars would suffer an illness as a result of such conduct,” the complaint states.

    Sinars is represented by Ted Gianaris and Kenneth Brennan of SimmonsCooper of East Alton.

    Jennifer Sinars, Damons wife, also is seeking damages alleging the defendants’ conduct interfered with her martial relationship causing her to suffer an impairment of all the elements of married life she was accustomed to receiving, including support, devotion, care, society and consortium.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron.

    05 L 575

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