Shell lab worker claims benzene exposure caused lymphoma

Kelly Holleran Sep. 21, 2012, 10:50am


A man claims he developed lymphoma after being exposed to benzene while working at a Shell Oil plant.

James Jones filed a lawsuit Sept. 13 in Madison County Circuit Court against Radiator Specialty Company, Rust-Oleum Corporation, Shell Chemical, Shell Oil Company, Turtle Wax, United States Steel Corporation and WD-40 Company.

In his complaint, Jones claims he worked as a lab worker at Shell from 1964 until 1971.

At the facilities, Shell processed and stored benzene, a highly toxic chemical classified as a human carcinogen, according to the complaint.

Because of his exposure, Jones developed large b-cell lymphoma, the complaint says. Jones was diagnosed with the cancer Sept. 21, 2010, the suit states.

Jones claims his disease has caused him to incur medical costs, to sustain great physical pain and mental anguish and to experience disability. He also has missed a substantial amount of work, causing him to lose significant amounts of money, according to the complaint.

Jones alleges negligence against the defendants, saying they included benzene in their products even though it was a known carcinogen, failed to sufficiently test the effects of benzene on humans living in close proximity to plants and failed to alert her and other residents of air and water contamination.

Brown also alleges willful and wanton misconduct against the defendants, saying they released toxic chemicals into the air without attempting to clean them up, minimized and hid the dangers of benzene exposure despite their knowledge of the chemicals and committed numerous environmental violations.

He says the defendants were also strictly liable for their products and engaged in conspiracy and ultra-hazardous activity.

In his 15-count suit, Jones seeks a judgment of more than $50,000 and compensatory damages of more than $600,000, plus other relief the court deems just.

Richard L. Saville Jr., Ethan A. Flint, Andrew J. Balcer, Jill Price and Carson C. Menges of Saville and Flint in Glen Carbon and Christopher W. Dysart of The Dysart Law Firm in Chesterfield will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-1476.

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