Witco employee claims benzene exposure caused myeloma

Michelle Massey Jul. 23, 2010, 8:00am

NEW ORLEANS-A former Witco employee has filed a lawsuit alleging that during his employment at the Gretna plant he was exposed to benzene products that caused him to develop multiple myeloma.

Edward C. Patterson, Lavera Peterson Patterson, individually and as the legal representative of Edward C. Patterson and Lamar Patterson Sr. individually, and Edward Charles Patterson Jr. individually filed suit against Radiator Specialty Co., Travelers Insurance Co. and The Travelers Indemnity Co. on July 19 in federal court in New Orleans.

Edward Patterson was employed by Witco at the Gretna plant as an operator at various times from 1966 to 1976 and 1977 through 2004.

Travelers provided insurance for the Witco plant. Defendant Radiator Specialty is accused of selling various benzene containing products including Liquid Wrench to the Gretna plant.

"While exposed at the work site described above, petitioner was exposed to dangerously high levels of benzene and other products containing benzene which were unreasonably dangerous materials," the lawsuit alleges.

Patterson was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on May 13, allegedly due to his exposure.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to make Patterson wear proper respiratory protective equipment, failing to warn or inform Patterson of the health hazards associated with inhalation of benzene, failing to implement a proper safety program, failing to train and instruct regarding the limitations of respiratory protective equipment, failing to maintain, repair, replace and make available necessary respiratory protective equipment and failing to monitor and evaluate the fume levels in the work environment.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, fear of cancer and other diseases, disability, wrongful death, loss of consortium, hearing loss, physical impairment, disfigurement, and loss of society, services and consortium.

The Pattersons are represented by L. Eric Williams Jr. of Williams Law Office and Richard J. Fernandez in Metairie.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv02007

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