Defendant in benzene case files motion to strike and dismiss

Christina Stueve Apr. 26, 2012, 5:34am

Technical Chemical Company, a defendant in a Madison County benzene lawsuit, says the suit has failed to show that it intentionally caused harm or disregarded the welfare of the injured plaintiff.

The company, one of more than 60 companies sued by a Mississippi pipefitter and his wife, said in an April 19 motion to strike and dismiss that the plaintiffs made broad statements and vague allegations regarding the actions of a group of defendants and does not specify any misrepresentations or omissions made by Technical Chemical.

Ricky Marshall and Jerry Marshall sued last September claiming Ricky Marshall worked as a pipefitter from 1970-2008 when he was allegedly exposed to benzene and benzene-containing products. Because of his exposure, he developed acute myelogenous leukemia and was diagnosed with cancer, his suit says.

The Marshalls are represented by attorneys with the Saville & Flint firm of Glen Carbon.

"Not only do the plaintiffs fail to specify the misrepresentations or omissions made by Technical Chemical, they fail to identify whether Plaintiff Marshall relied upon alleged misrepresentations or omissions," Technical Chemical's motion states. "Accordingly, plaintiffs fail to allege fraud with factual sufficiency."

In its answer to the complaint, the company says the plaintiff's alleged exposure was not caused by any product it designed or handled.

The company says it was the Marshalls' employers who had duty to warn.

"The plaintiff was employed by sophisticated employers, and the duty of Technical Chemical to warn plaintiff of any danger to the exposure to benzene and benzene containing products, the existence of which duty is expressly denied, was discharged by her employers' intervening duty to give plaintiff all required warning," Technical stated in its answer.

"Plaintiff's damages were caused by parties including corporations or entities other than Technical Chemical and such conduct bars or comparatively reduces any possible recovery by plaintiff against Technical Chemical."

Thomas M. Crawford and Michelle K. Correia of Litchfield Cavo in Chicago represent Technical Chemical Company, formerly known as Johnsen's Products.

The Marshalls requested the court to enter an order dismissing defendant Pharmacia Corporation, formerly known as Monsanto Company, on March 13.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth presides.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-1211.

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