An Illinois couple has filed a benzene suit against 26 defendant corporations, claiming the non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma with which the man was diagnosed was wrongfully caused.

Calvin E. and Helen Johns claim Calvin Johns was diagnosed with the disease in 2006, but learned in November 2008 that the disease was benzene-related, according to a lawsuit filed Feb. 18 in Madison County Circuit Court.

The Johns say Calvin E. Johns worked from 1942 until 1949 as a laborer at Owens Illinois Glass Company in Alton and from 1949 until 1986 as a laborer at Sinclair Refining Company, Clark Oil, Apex and Premcor in Hartford, according to the lawsuit.

The Johns states Calvin E. Johns' exposure was foreseeable and should have been anticipated by the defendants, according to the lawsuit.

They claim his disease was caused after he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed great amounts of benzene.

The benzene-related disease caused Calvin E. Johns to be disabled and disfigured, to incur medical expense and to experience great physical pain and mental anguish.

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma hindered and prevented Calvin E. Johns from pursuing his normal course of employment, according to the suit.

As a result, he lost large sums of money, the Johns claim.

In the 11-count lawsuit, the Johns are seeking sums in excess of $50,000, compensatory damages in excess of $400,000 and punitive and exemplary damages in excess of $100,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

They are represented by Randy L. Gori and Barry Julian of Gori, Julian and Associates in Alton.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-0136.

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