Madison - St. Clair Record

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Woman sues Marathon Petroleum over husband's benzene-related death

By Molly English-Bowers | Dec 20, 2015

An Illinois woman is suing over her husband's exposure to benzene, which she alleges led to his premature death. 

Barbara Dickerson filed the suit individually and as special representative of the estate of her husband, Steven C. Dickerson, on Dec. 8 in Madison County Circuit Court against Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Meyer Oil Company and Illinois Tool Works.

According to the complaint, from 1980 through March 15, 2012, the decedent worked as an operator at a Marathon refinery, where he allegedly was exposed to benzene.

From 1995 through 2013, he purchased Marathon brand gasoline for use in his lawn care business from a gas station owned by defendant Meyer. That gasoline also allegedly exposed him to benzene, the suit states.

The decedent purchased cleaners for use in his lawn care business manufactured by ITW, the suit states. Those cleaners also allegedly exposed him to benzene.

The decedent died July 5, 2014, of myelodyspastic syndrome, for which he was diagnosed on Jan. 2, 2014. Benzene is a known cause of the disease, according to the complaint.

This case is brought under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act.

All three defendants are being sued for alleged negligence, intentional wrongful misconduct, negligent manufacture, negligent failure to warn and defective product.

In addition to a trial by jury, the plaintiff seeks at least $50,000 from each defendant plus court costs and attorney fees. She is represented by Thomas E. Schwartz and Justin D. Guerra of Holloran Schwartz and Gaertner LLP of St. Louis. 

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1595

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