Dwayne Davenport of Arkansas has filed suit against 18 defendant corporations, alleging he developed myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) after being exposed to benzene.

The complaint filed in Madison County Circuit Court on Aug. 4 says Davenport worked as a drywall taper and sprayer in the Chicago area.

Davenport claims his exposure to benzene was completely foreseeable and could or should have been anticipated by the defendants.

He also claims the defendants knew or should have known that benzene had a toxic and highly deleterious effect upon the health of persons inhaling, ingesting or otherwise absorbing it.

The five-count suit seeks in excess of $250,000 in compensatory damages and attorney fees.

Davenport names as defendants: Ashland Chemical, Ashland Oil, BP Amoco Chemical, BP North America, Chase Products, ConocoPhillips, E.I DuPont, Exxon Mobil, International Paint, Martin Franchises, Radiator Specialty, Rust-Oleum, Shell Chemical, Shell Oil, Sherwin Williams, Turtle Wax, Valspar and 3M.

Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is produced by the burning of natural products. It is a component of products derived from coal and petroleum and is found in gasoline and other fuels and is used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides.

Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene also is a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.

Benzene, which is known to be a carcinogen, is used in the manufacture of plastics, detergents, pesticides and other chemicals.

Davenport claims the defendants failed to exercise ordinary care and caution for his safety and health by:

  • Including benzene in their products and processes, even though it was completely foreseeable that people living around them would inhale or ingest benzene;

  • Including benzene in their products while defendants knew or should have known that carcinogenic chemicals would have a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect on those handling them;

  • Including benzene when adequate substitutes were available;

  • Failing to allocate any or adequate funds to test, monitor, and research the human health effects of benzene-containing products or processes on residents living in proximity to where benzene was being used;

  • Failing to provide any or adequate warnings to people living around the area;

  • Failing to recommend the use of adequate personal protective equipment inhaling or living around benzene; and

  • Failing to recall or cease using benzene and products and processes containing benzene.

    As a result of his exposure, Davenport claims he has and will continue to spend large sums of money for hospital expenses, experience pain, suffering, mental anguish and physical disability and lost wages.

    Davenport is represented by Richard Saville, Jr., Robert Evola and Ethan Flint of Alton.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Court Judge Andy Matoesian.

    08 L 687

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    3M DuPont Exxon Mobil

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