Benzene suit claims woman's exposure to Wood River ground water, soil led to cancer

Kelly Holleran Sep. 26, 2012, 9:40am


A man claims his recently deceased mother developed a fatal cancer after being exposed to benzene while living near a Shell Oil plant.

Ryan Davis filed a lawsuit Sept. 19 in Madison County Circuit Court against Shell Oil Company, Equilon Enterprises, BP Products North America, ConocoPhillips Company, WRB Refining, ConocoPhillips WRB Partner and Cenovus GPCO.

In his complaint, Ryan Davis claims his mother, Rebecca Earlene Davis, lived near South Roxana from 1985 until her death in 2011.

Near Rebecca Earlene Davis's home lies the Wood River Refinery. At the refinery, Shell processed and stored benzene, a highly toxic chemical classified as a human carcinogen, according to the complaint.

The chemical transferred from the facilities to the ground water and soil, were Rebecca Davis came into contact with it, the suit states.

Because of her exposure, Rebecca Davis developed cancer, the complaint says.

Ryan Davis claims Rebecca Davis's disease has caused him to incur economic costs and to lose his mother's support, society, consortium, companionship, guidance, advice, love and affection,, according to the complaint.

Ryan Davis alleges wrongful death against the defendants, saying they breached their duty to use reasonable care by spilling benzene and by failing to properly store it.

In his 15-count suit, Ryan Davis seeks an unspecified judgment, plus other relief the court deems just.

Andrew G. Toennies of Lashly and Baer in St. Louis will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-1505.

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