Estate claims leukemia death caused by benzene

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 10, 2008, 1:29pm

The estate of James Granat filed suit against 19 defendant corporations in Madison County Circuit Court claiming his benzene exposure caused him to develop myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myelogenous leukemia which led to his death on Jan 17.

According to the complaint filed March 5, Granat worked for various employers throughout Illinois performing work in the printing industry and as a security guard.

The suit claims Granat's exposure to benzene was completely foreseeable and could or should have been anticipated by the defendants. It also claims the defendants knew or should have known that benzene had a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect upon the health of the persons inhaling, ingesting or otherwise absorbing it.

The eight-count suit seeks in excess of $400,000 in compensatory damages and attorney fees.

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 also is a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.

Benzene, which is known to be a carcinogen, is used in the manufacture of plastics, detergents, pesticides and other chemicals.

The estate claims the defendants failed to exercise ordinary care and caution for his safety, health and welfare by, among other things:

  • Including benzene in their products and processes, even though it was completely foreseeable that people living around them would inhale or ingest benzene;

  • Including benzene in their products while defendants knew or should have known that carcinogenic chemicals would have a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect on those handling them;

  • Including benzene when adequate substitutes were available;

  • Failing to allocate any or adequate funds to test, monitor, and research the human health effects of benzene-containing products or processes on residents living in proximity to where benzene was being used;

  • Failing to provide any or adequate warnings to people living around the area;

  • Failing to recommend the use of adequate personal protective equipment inhaling or living around benzene; and

  • Failing to recall or cease using benzene and products and processes containing benzene.

    Granat's estate is represented by Richard Saville, Jr., Robert Evola and Ethan Flint of Alton.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

    08 L 187

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