Drilling-pipe cleaner sues oil companies over 'fear of cancer'

By Kyle Barnett | Aug 22, 2013

Jeremiah A. Sprague

GRETNA – A number of oil and energy exploration companies have been sued by a man who claims he was exposed to radioactive materials in drilling pipes.

Eddie Smith Jr. filed suit against Exxon Mobil Corp/, Exxon Mobil Oil Corp., Humble Oil & Refining Co/, Humble Oil & Refining Corp., the Texas Co., Deveon Energy Production Co. LP, Dynamic Exploration Inc., ConocoPhillips Co., Shell Oil Co., Marathon Oil Co. and Packard Pipe Terminals LLC in the 24th Judicial District Court on June 20.

Smith claims from 1967-2000 he worked for Tuboscope Vetco at their Harvey facility cleaning pipes used in oil drilling. The plaintiff alleges that his employer used a process to clean the pipes that pulverized radioactive materials within the pipes and allowed them to become airborne.

Smith asserts he was exposed to high levels of radioactivity over a prolonged period during the course of his employment and that due to breathing in the radioactive particles he is now more likely to contract cancer.

The defendant is accused of knowingly exposing the plaintiff to radioactive materials, exposing the plaintiff to radioactivity, failing to properly supervise operations, violating work contract by failing to warn of radioactive materials, failing to test pipe, failing to dispose of radioactive waste, failing to place marking identification on radioactive materials, failing to prevent contamination of work areas, acting in careless and negligent manner and strict liability.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for psychological and bodily injury symptoms, medical expenses, mental pain and suffering, physical pain and suffering, increased risk of cancer, fear of developing cancer, medical monitoring and fear of cancer.

Smith is represented by Jeremiah A. Sprague of the Marrero-based Falcon Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to Division D Judge Scott U. Schlegel.

Case no. 728-171.

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