Harvey man sues six companies claiming benzene exposure caused kidney cancer

By Michelle Keahey | Jul 23, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - A Harvey man has filed a lawsuit against six companies claiming that his diagnosis of kidney cancer was a result of 19 years of benzene exposure.

Joseph O'Quain and Melissa H. O'Quain filed suit against Shell Offshore Inc., Shell Oil Co., Radiator Specialty Co., United States Steel Corp., LPS Laboratories, and Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. on June 28 in federal court in New Orleans.

Joseph O'Quain worked as an instrument technician and as a crewmember for Defendant Shell Offshore and Shell Oil Co. on various vessels from 1974 to 1993. He claims that during his employment he worked with chemicals and solvents that contained benzene, including Liquid Wrench, LPS Lubricant, 3M Scotchkote Electrical Coating and Shellsol.

He was diagnosed with kidney cancer in Nov. 2007. He claims that he did not learn of the connection between benzene exposure and cancer until October 2011.

The defendants are accused of negligence, unseaworthiness and strict product liability.

The plaintiffs are asking the court for an award of damages for physical pain, suffering, and functional disability and impairment, mental and emotional pain, anguish, suffering and aggravated mental and emotional deficiency, medical expenses, loss of wages, loss of earning capacity, loss of insurability, disability and disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, physical impairment, interest, maintenance and cure.

The O'Quains are represented by L. Eric Williams Jr. of Williams Law Office in Metairie.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01693

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