Benzene plaintiff targets 25 defendants

By Steve Gonzalez | Oct 3, 2005

Vernon Steinberg of Swansea filed a benzene suit in Madison County Circuit Court Sept. 22, alleging his exposure to benzene products led to the development of chronic myelogenous leukemia.

According to the complaint, Steinberg was employed as a machinist, maintenance and mechanical worker for General Steel Industries in Granite City from 1963-1972, and as a millwright and machinist for Spectrulite Consortium in Madison from 1973-2002.

He was diagnosed with leukemia on Sept. 23, 2003.

Steinberg names 25 defendants, including BP Amoco, Chevron, Dow Chemical, Exxon Mobil and Texaco.

“Steinberg was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed benzene which was contained in products designed, manufactured, sold or distributed by the defendants,” the complaint states.

“Steinberg’s exposure to, inhalation, ingestion and absorption of the benzene was completely foreseeable and could or should have been anticipated by the defendants.”

He also claims the defendants should have known benzene has a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect upon the health of people working with or around benzene.

According to the complaint, the defendants failed to exercise ordinary care and caution for the safety, health and welfare of Steinberg.

He claims the defendants failed to recommend the use of personal protective gear, failed to provide any warnings, failed to provide any instructions to help protect him and failed to recall or cease using benzene products.

Steinberg claims he has suffered permanent injuries, became physically impaired, suffers pain, lost wages and has loss the enjoyment of life.

Kathleen Steinberg, Vernon’s wife, claims she has suffered and will continue to suffer the loss of society, consortium, companionship, love, affection, support, and care of her husband.

The Steinbergs are represented by Thomas Schwartz of St. Louis and Michael Schmidt and Keith Patton of Schmidt & Clark of Dallas. They are seeking damages in excess of $150,000.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

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Exxon Mobil The Dow Chemical Company

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