New Mexico man files Benzene case in Madison County

Kelly Holleran Mar. 31, 2010, 6:30am


A New Mexico man and his wife have filed suit against Shell Chemical Company, Shell Oil Company and United States Steel Corp., alleging the man developed multiple myeloma after his exposure to benzene-containing products.

Leroy C. and Marjorie Ducommun claim Leroy C. Ducommun developed the disease after working around the benzene products throughout his career as a member of the U.S. Navy from 1944 until 1946 and as a pipefitter and welder from 1948 until 1985.

According to the complaint filed March 22 in Madison County Circuit Court, Leroy C. Ducommun was diagnosed with the disease in July 2000, but did not realize it was benzene-related until 2008.

Because of the disease, Leroy C. Ducommun has been disabled and disfigured, incurred medical costs, experienced great physical pain and mental anguish and was hindered from pursuing his normal course of employment, causing him to lose money, the suit states.

The Ducommuns blame the defendants for causing Leroy Ducommun's disease, saying they negligently included benzene in their products and processes knowing that it would have a toxic effect on people who worked around it, included the benzene in products when an adequate substitute was available, failed to allocate any funds toward testing the benzene-containing products for hazards to human health, failed to test workers' health and failed to provide any warnings to workers about the dangers of working near benzene-containing products, among other negligent acts.

In their 11-count suit, the Ducommuns are seeking a judgment of more than $450,000 and compensatory damages of more than $100,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Randy L. Gori and Barry Julian of Gori, Julian and Associates in Edwardsville will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-318.

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