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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Shell Oil says Roxana teacher’s lawsuit fails to make specific allegations

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jan 19, 2016

Shell Oil Company claims a Roxana teacher’s lawsuit alleging exposure to benzene is insufficient and fails to make specific allegations.

Gerald Maberry filed the lawsuit on Sept. 15 against Shell Oil Co., Equilon Enterprises LLC, doing business as Shell Oil Products, Conoco Philips Co., WRB Partner LLC, Cenovus GPCO LLC and BP Products North America Inc.

According to the complaint, Maberry worked in Roxana as a teacher and claims the defendants’ refineries failed to contain certain harmful hydrocarbons safely and properly. As a result, the pollutants allegedly dispersed onto the plaintiff’s worksite, causing him bodily harm, the suit states.

Maberry alleges the defendants neglected proper safety procedures and was aware of such contaminations but failed to properly prevent harmful chemical leaks, allegedly resulting in pollution of the air and groundwater.

Shell Oil Company and Equilon Enterprises filed a combined motion for a more definite statement on Oct. 19 through attorneys Richard Korn and Erika Reynolds of Fox Galvin in St. Louis.

They argue that Maberry failed to allege when he was exposed to pollution.

“Given that Shell Oil Company has not owned or operated a refinery in Roxana, Illinois, since July 1, 2000, the particular time frame of the plaintiff’s purported exposure is extremely relevant,” the motion states.

They also argue that Maberry failed to allege specifically where he was exposed to pollution, or which school.

“This too is relevant given the location of the various schools which have over the years been in the community,” the motion states.

Lastly, the defendants argue that Maberry failed to provide the exact illness he allegedly developed as a result of his exposure to pollution.

“That is, he alleges only that he sustained an injury to his ‘blood forming organs.’ This is no different than claiming ‘injury to his bones’ in a garden variety personal injury case,” the motion states.

Maberry filed an answer on Dec. 8, denying each and every allegation against him but did not provide specifics.

Maberry seeks damages of more than $50,000, plus court costs.

He is represented by attorney Ted Gianaris of the law office of Simmons Hanly Conroy in Alton.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1193

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