A man claims he developed leukemia after being exposed to benzene throughout his career as a pipefitter.

Ricky and Jerry Marshall of Mississippi filed a lawsuit Nov. 14 in Madison County Circuit Court against 53 defendant companies.

In their complaint, the Marshalls claim Ricky Marshall worked as a pipefitter from 1970 until 2008. During his career, Ricky Marshall was exposed to benzene and benzene-containing products, according to the complaint.

Because of his exposure, Ricky Marshall developed acute myelogenous leukemia, the complaint says. Ricky Marshall was diagnosed with the cancer on Sept. 5, 2011, the suit states.

Ricky Marshall claims his disease has caused him to incur medical costs and to sustain physical pain, disability and mental anguish. He also has missed a substantial amount of work, causing his career to be severely damaged, according to the complaint.

Ricky Marshall alleges negligence against the defendants, saying they included benzene in their products even though it was a known carcinogen, failed to sufficiently test the effects of benzene and failed to provide warnings to those working near the product of is dangers.

Ricky Marshall also alleges willful and wanton conduct against the defendants, saying they included the benzene in their products even though they knew that workers would inhale the harmful substance.

In addition, the Marshalls allege conspiracy and loss of consortium

In their 11-count suit, the Marshalls seek compensatory damages of more than $500,000 and a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Richard L. Saville Jr., Ethan A. Flint, Andrew J. Balcer, Joseph Whyte, Jill Price and Eric Jackstadt of Saville and Flint in Glen Carbon will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-1211.

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