Woman claims leukemia from benzene exposure

Kelly Holleran Nov. 6, 2008, 5:33am

A Madison County woman has filed suit against 12 corporations, alleging she developed leukemia after she was exposed to benzene-containing products at her workplaces.

Paula Dangerfield was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia on Nov. 27, 2006, according to a complaint filed Oct. 31 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Dangerfield worked from 1992 until 1993 and from 1995 through 1997 at Afton and from April 2001 until June 2006 at Reilly Industries, the suit states.

"By working with and being exposed to the aforesaid benzene-containing products, Plaintiff was cumulatively exposed to benzene," the suit states.

The 12 corporations were negligent because they failed to warn of the benzene's presence in their products and failed to adequately warn of the harm associated with exposure to benzene, Dangerfield claims.

While Dangerfield worked at Afton, she labored close to spaces designated as "Benzene-Regulated Areas," but was not provided with adequate protection, she alleges.

"Defendant Afton had unique awareness of the dangerous and defective condition of the premises and failed to make adequate repairs and/or adjustments," the suit states.

In addition to the leukemia, Dangerfield suffered severe and permanent injury, pain and physical impairment, according to the complaint.

In addition, she has incurred medical expenses and loss of enjoyment of life, the suit states.

In the four-count suit, Dangerfield is seeking a judgment in excess of $200,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

She is represented by Thomas E. Schwartz and Justin D. Guerra of Holloran, White and Schwartz in St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 08-L-1032.

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