Defendants dropping out of benzene suit

By Amelia Flood | Sep 29, 2009


The list of defendants in an Arkansas man's suit over his alleged benzene-related illness is shrinking.

Defendant U.S. Steel Corporation and plaintiffs Dwayne and Barbara Davenport filed a joint motion Sept. 24 asking Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder for a good faith finding in their proposed settlement.

The terms of the settlement are confidential. Crowder is set to hear the good faith arguments Oct. 16 at 11 a.m.

Earlier this month, E.I. DuPont Nemours & Company was dismissed and defendants BP Amoco Chemical Company and BP Products North America were dismissed from the suit Aug. 26.

The three join four other defendants who were dismissed earlier this year.

A case management conference is set tomorrow at 9 a.m.

The Davenports originally sued 19 defendants for strict liability, negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, conspiracy and loss of consortium counts.

According to the complaint, Dwayne Davenport developed Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) in May 2007 after years of working in the Chicago area with products containing benzene.

The suit claims Davenport was not made aware or warned of the dangers of the chemical and that he ingests it in such amounts as to develop MDS. He also claims he has incurred and will incur medical and hospital bills, pain, mental anguish, will be hindered in his pursuit of a normal life and that he has suffered disability.

The Davenports argue that the makers of the benzene products intentionally disregarded Dwayne Davenport's safety, were reckless in failing to warn him of benzene's dangers and they suppressed knowledge of the product's dangers while acting in concert.

Barbara Davenport is suing for unspecified damages for loss of her husband's support, consortium and care.

The suit seeks $50,000 per count and costs.

The case was originally assigned to Madison Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

The Davenports are represented by Richard Saville of Alton.

U.S. Steel is represented by Joseph Kilpatrick and Joseph Orlet of St. Louis. Orlet is also listed as counsel for BP defendants, Sigma Coatings USA BV Inc., and International Paint Company.

Larry Chilton and Joseph Vallort of Chicago represent Ashland Chemical Company.

Timothy Krippner of Chicago represents Chase Products Company.
Larry Hepler and Gregg Kinney of Edwardsville represent Conocophillips Company.

Brian Lewis, Denise Lazar of Chicago and Charles Joley and Kenneth Nussbaumer of Belleville represent E.I. DuPont Nemours & Company.
Joley and Nussbaumer also represent Valspar Corporation.

Kent Plotner and Jeffrey Bash of Edwardsville represent Radiator Specialty Company.

Tracy Cowan and Karen Volkman of St. Louis represent The Sherwin Williams Company.

Daniel Cray and LaDonna Boeckman of Chicago represent Superior Solvents & Chemicals Inc.

M. Ann Hatch and Gary Smith of St. Louis represent Turtle Wax Inc.

No attorney is listed as representing Martin Franchises Inc.

Exxon Mobil Corporation was dismissed as were Rustoleum Corporation,
Shell Chemical Company, 3M aka Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, and Ashland Oil Company.

The case is Madison case number 08-L-687.

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3M DuPont Exxon Mobil

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