Benzene exposure claimed in suit against Chevron, others

By Michelle Keahey | May 25, 2011


A Jefferson Parish resident claims his years of exposure to benzene-containing products has resulted in his diagnosis of multiple myeloma and has filed suit against his previous employers and the companies who manufactured the benzene-containing products.

William Singleton, individually and Nellie Mae Gabriel Singleton, individually, filed suit against Chevron USA Inc., Shell Oil Co., International Paint, The Valspar Corp., Radiator Specialty Co., United States Steel Corp., E. I. Du Pont De Nemours and Co. and ABC Insurance Co. on May 20 in federal court in New Orleans.

William Singleton worked as a drum filler at Evans Cooperage in the late 1950s, filling drums with benzene, naphtha and liquid asphalt. He worked as a painter at the Avondale Shipyard from 1990 through 1997 as a painter and was allegedly exposed to benzene containing products such as paints, solvents, primers, thinners and other products. Singleton claims his exposure resulted in his being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in July 2009.

The defendants are accused of negligence for selling benzene-containing products, failing to instruct or warn users and bystanders of the hazards associated with these products and for misrepresenting the safety and health risk of these products. The defendants are also accused of strict product liability and liability under the Louisiana Products Liability Act.

Singleton is seeking damages for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, disfigurement, embarrassment, physical impairment, earnings, lost earning capacity, physical and mental disability, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, fear of cancer, loss of society and consortium, wrongful death damages and survival damages.

The plaintiffs are represented by L. Eric Williams of Williams Law Office in Metairie and Richard J. Fernandez and Amber E. Cisney of Richard J. Fernandez LLC in Metairie. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-01199

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