Drilling pipe cleaner sues over 'loss of smell' after radioactive materials exposure

By Kyle Barnett | Jun 4, 2013

Jeremiah A. Sprague

GRETNA – A Jefferson Parish man who claims he was exposed to radioactive materials as part of his employment as a pipe cleaner is suing his former employer as well as several international oil corporations.

Michael Wilson Sr. filed suit against Exxon Mobil Corporation, Exxon Mobil Oil Corporation, Chevron USA Inc., BP Corporation North America Inc., Devon Energy Production Company LP, Conocophillips Company, Shell Oil Company, Shell Offshore Inc., SWEPI, Marathon Oil Company and Intracoastal Tubular Services in the 24th Judicial District Court on April 10.

Wilson claims he was employed by pipe cleaning companies Intracoastal Tubular Services from 1974-75, Oilfield Services in 1992-93 and Bredero Price in 1998. The plaintiff alleges that as part of his job he used pipe cleaning processes that created hazardous radioactive dust in the air that he breathed in. Wilson asserts that due to the nature of the work he was exposed to oilfield generated radioactivity (OGR), which is caused by drilling activities, as part of his employment and that he now has a higher risk of contracting cancer.

The defendants are accused of knowing of the danger OGR but failing to warn the plaintiff, knowing that the pipe cleaning contractors performing work for the oil companies would cause significant exposure to OGR, failing to properly supervise pipe cleaning operations, failing to test the pipe for OGR, failing to properly dispose of OGR, failing to place marking identification on OGR contaminated pipe, failing to prevent access to OGR contaminated work areas, acting in a careless and negligent manner towards the safety of the plaintiff and strict liability.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for damages to sinuses resulting in loss of smell, fear of cancer, increased risk of cancer, damage to plaintiff’s physical health, mental anguish, compensation for past and future damages and punitive damages.

Wilson is represented by Jeremish A. Sprague of Marrero-based Falcon Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to Division H Judge Glenn B. Ansardi.

Case no. 725-788.

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