» Benzene Lawsuit Wed, 26 Dec 2012 21:04:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How much time to do you have to file a benzene lawsuit Wed, 26 Dec 2012 21:01:56 +0000 How much time that you have to file a benzene lawsuit depends on the statute of limitations. ┬áThat statute is basically a law that limits the amount of time that you have to file. Watch the Video for More info.

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Nightmare For Residents of Benzene Tainted Neighborhood Thu, 24 Sep 2009 15:22:33 +0000 A few weeks back I posted about an L.A. County housing tract in Carson Ca. found to be heavily contaminated with underground benzene and methane. The pollution came from defunct underground tanks operated by Shell Oil Co. on the site for forty years ending in 1960.

When I last posted about this, the nightmare was just beginning for those living in the 275 home Carousel neighborhood. Barbara Post, president of the Carousel Homeowners’ Association had said:

"Chemicals are a serious matter, we have to trust that Shell is going to take care of it for us."

Trusting Shell is not a good plan, fortunately Barbara Post is starting to see more clearly:

"I’ve been worried about this, but I’m scared to death now, Shell can’t replace my house, and they can’t replace that neighborhood."

Weeks ago Shell had only drilled samples from the public roads and had just begun asking home owners for permission to test private properties. Shell, of course, was optimistic:

 "We don’t believe that there is reason to be concerned from a safety perspective, but we felt like it was the right thing to do to make sure there were not the same levels detected on residential properties."-Shell spokeswoman Alison Chassen

Would Chassen be concerned if it were her neighborhood? Definitely. It is well known that subterranean benzene has a nasty habit of seeping into structures built above it, and contaminating ground water.

Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon and known human carcinogen. It interferes with the body’s ability to produce new blood cells, a crucial part of the human immune system. Benzene exposure has been linked to debilitating and potentially fatal blood diseases like acute lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The possibility of people contracting these disorders should be of concern from any reasonable "safety perspective."

Recently, 300 residents met with lawyers to discuss a lawsuit against Shell. According to the lawyers, at some sites, benzene levels are 100,000 times accepted state standards. Robert Bowcock, an environmental consultant hired by the law firm told residents:

 "You’ve been exposed to a very high level, I’m incensed and angry that Shell let this happen. Shell is not interested in being your friend. They will do absolutely the minimum they are required to do. We know the games they can play and we’re going to hold their feet to the fire."

Precedent indicates that Bowcock is correct. A benzene lawsuit is the only way to force Shell to properly compensate residents for damage to their properties, and their health.


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U.S. Oil Addiction Leads to Benzene Exposure, Health Problems Wed, 08 Apr 2009 05:13:32 +0000 In the United States our way of life is made possible by petroleum products such as gasoline and oil. Indeed we would not be where we are today without oil, but what is the cost to the health of our nation? Gasoline and oil products and the industries that surround them pose a significant threat to the health of consumers, workers, and communities.

Those working in or around the petrochemical industry have long suffered health problems that are now being linked to benzene exposure. Widely used in the industry, benzene is an organic solvent known to cause a wide array of serious health problems such as myelodysplastic syndromes and aplastic anemia. Benzene also causes acute myelogenous leukemia.

Gas stations are where most of us experience benzene exposure. The vapors one smells while pumping gas contain all the same chemicals as gas in its liquid form, including benzene.   

It is not unheard of for underground gasoline storage tanks to rupture, contaminating groundwater with their toxic contents. Because many older tanks are made of uncoated steel, they are destined for eventual failure due to rust. Because the tanks are underground there is no way to monitor their integrity. Many successful lawsuits have been filed on behalf of people whose groundwater has been contaminated by leaking gas tanks.

The chemical hazards posed by gas stations are not only subterranean, above ground, gas stations are prone to fuel spills and gasoline in its vapor form. The frequent small spills can mix with rainwater and drain into nearby creeks and waterways. The vapors carry benzene and other toxic chemicals into the bodies of consumers. A recent study estimates that for every 1000 gallons of fuel pumped, one gallon is released into the atmosphere.

If the station also works on cars, than the risks to health are increased. Mechanics routinely use solvents containing benzene, and lead products, and may work on breaks and clutches that contain asbestos, a substance that causes mesothelioma.

The auto refinishing and painting industry uses a host of harmful chemicals, including benzene which is found in most paint.

Vehicle exhaust is something we are all exposed to on a daily basis and few of us loose much sleep over it. That said, it contains benzene and studies have indicated an increased cancer risk among those who live on or near major highways, or are employed in toll booths, or parking garages.

Above all petrochemical plants pose the greatest risk to surrounding communities.  Countless successful lawsuits have been filed on behalf of individuals and communities negatively affected by chemical spills, leaks, and emissions. 

Recently the media has been full of talk about reducing dependence on foreign oil, how about reducing dependence on all oil? We don’t have to wait for the affordable electric car to get started. A growing number of Americans are working to eliminate or limit petroleum use in their lives. The following are some ways you can reduce oil dependence and thus improve our health as a nation.  

  • Moving closer to work, telecommuting, car pooling, and bicycling are all ways we can reduce our need for oil.  
  • Shopping locally and buying locally produced food products whenever possible decreases oil use by reducing the need for shipping.  
  • Purchasing organic products whenever possible reduces the use of petrochemical fertilizers and herbicides.
  • Installing solar assisted hot water heaters reduces the use of natural gas, and your gas bill.

While it is currently impossible to completely eliminate petrochemical exposure in our population, we must hold oil companies accountable for their actions to ensure that the highest possible safety standards, and lowest possible occurrence of environmental accidents, are met.




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Benzene Lawsuit Cites Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Sun, 01 Mar 2009 12:29:45 +0000 A man who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) in 2006 has filed a lawsuit against 26 companies after realizing that his cancer is probably related to decades of occupational benzene exposure.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) is one of several rare cancers caused by benzene, and Calvin Johns suffered plenty of exposure to benzene during his years as a laborer at Sinclair Refining Company, Clark Oil, Premcor and Apex – all of which have been named as defendants in Johns’ suit.

Oil refineries, in particular, should know the risks their workers face and should take measures to reduce the risk of toxic exposures. Many successful claims have been made against large corporations, allowing victims of benzene exposure to obtain compensation for their physical, emotional and financial damages.

In this lawsuit, Johns and his wife are seeking damages for medical expenses, physical pain and mental anguish, among other things.


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Plaintiffs in Benzene Lawsuit Finally Get Paid Wed, 04 Feb 2009 12:45:46 +0000 More than $900,000 was paid to eight plaintiffs involved in an ongoing legal battle against Kerr-McGee Chemical, the plaintiffs’ benzene exposure attorneys announced this week. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2005, and the company has delayed payment to the plaintiffs since an arbitration decision last year.

Tronox LLC, which now owns Kerr-McGee, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and in January asked for relief from payment under that filing. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that the company had sufficient funds in at least five different accounts to pay the money owed, and Tronox was finally obliged to pay.

Plaintiffs Claimed Health Problems from Toxic Exposure
Kerr-McGee manufactured railroad ties at its Avoca, Pennsylvania plant for approximately 40 years, releasing extremely toxic chemicals – such as benzene, arsenic and creosote – into the air. The original lawsuit involved nearly 3,500 plaintiffs who claimed they developed cancer and other health problems as a result of exposure to these chemicals.


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TX County Residents Settle Benzene Lawsuit Sun, 01 Feb 2009 09:59:27 +0000 Approximately 200 residents of Angelina County, Texas have agreed to settle a benzene lawsuit filed against Chevron in 2002. The lawsuit involved claims of property damage and health complications such as leukemia.

Old, Leaky & Unused Pipeline

At issue in the lawsuit was a leaky crude oil pipeline owned by Chevron that ran through Lufkin (in Angelina County). According to the lawsuit, Chevron stopped using the 70 year old pipeline in the 1980s and never cleaned it up.

Residents claimed they were unaware the pipeline existed until 2002, when it was unearthed during a local construction project. It was then that the residents realized the rusty oil pipeline was the likely source of contamination in the area.

Residents Suffer Benzene Exposure

In 2003, testing conducted by the city of Lufkin measured benzene levels in the groundwater to be 12,660 parts per billion (ppb) – by far exceeding the protective 5 ppb limit. Chevron testing found the level of benzene to be six times the protective limit.

Residents in the lawsuit alleged that Chevron knew that the pipeline was leaking benzene and other harmful chemicals into the air, soil and groundwater. Benzene exposure has been linked to serious illnesses such as acute myelogenous leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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AZ Couple Files Benzene Lawsuit Mon, 10 Nov 2008 12:37:15 +0000 A couple living in Arizona recently filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas claiming wrongful exposure to benzene. The suit filed states that the plaintiff, Brian Foray, was wrongly exposed to the toxic chemical benzene while working for 17 years as a mechanic and maintenance worker. Twelve years after his exposure, Foray has been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, which is a sometimes fatal condition that is linked to benzene exposure.


After receiving his diagnosis, Foray and his wife, Francesca, have chosen to take action on their behalf and in the name of so many others who may have suffered as the result of employer negligence. The suit has been filed against Safety-Kleen Systems Inc., which is a corporation based out of Plano, Texas.


Benzene Details and Its Link to MDS


Benzene is a colorless liquid that has been labeled a known carcinogen since research has shown its obvious link to various cancers like leukemia and lung cancer. The chemical is often used as an additive in gasoline, soda, and is contained in cigarettes. Myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS, are known as a group of diseases that affect the bone marrow. Although MDS is a somewhat rare disease, in a majority of cases it has been found to be associated with benzene exposure.


Foray says that while working for the defendant, he cleaned parts and heavy equipment with substances containing benzene. The complaint also states that Safety-Kleen manufactured and sold parts that were washed in benzene, which as a result exposed the workers to the toxin. The suit states the defendant acted with negligence and is to blame for Foray’s current health condition.

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Texas Family Sues Gasoline Refineries Wed, 29 Oct 2008 23:48:19 +0000

The Simmes family, who owns the Simmes Ranch northwest of the Texaco gasoline refinery in Montana, recently filed a suit against several oil refineries. The lawsuit claims that the refineries are emitting large amounts of benzene, which is a known carcinogen, and putting the nearby community at risk.


The Simmes family says their land and underground water has become polluted with benzene and other toxins from the refineries leaking storage tanks. This is not the first benzene related lawsuit that has been filed in Cascade County. According to reports, a lawsuit filed by the Sunburst School District in 2001 against the refineries resulted in a $16 million settlement in the district’s favor. However, this case still isn’t completely settled seeing as the jury still needs to look again at the negotiations between Texaco and the state Department of Environmental Quality before awarding $25 million in punitive damages.


Benzene Lawsuit Details


The benzene lawsuit file names Chevron, Texaco and Pacific Hide and Fur Depot, the company that bought the Texaco facility in 1961, in the lawsuit. The benzene problems were originally discovered in 2004 when the DEQ investigated the areas surrounding the refineries and discovered a second plume of underground contaminants where two storage tanks once sat on the refineries properties.


“I would hope that this be the case that gets to trial much faster than the last one did,” says Mark Kovacich, the attorney for the Simmes family. The lawsuit is asking for the companies to pay for punitive damages and for the cleanup of the site.


 Benzene is a toxic chemical that can lead to the development of leukemia, MDS, and other forms of cancer when people are exposed over an extended period of time. The chemical is often used as an additive in gasoline and hundreds of lawsuits have been filed in the past few years against companies like Texaco involving benzene exposure.

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Benzene Lawsuit Filed Against Texaco Wed, 15 Oct 2008 23:06:31 +0000

According to recent news, a lawsuit has been filed by the children of a man who was supposedly wrongly exposed to benzene while at work. The suit has been filed two years after the man’s death and his children say they chose to take action in hopes that others won’t have to endure the painful loss they did when their father passed away.


The lawsuit, which was filed in Texas, names Texaco and Chevron as the defendants and accuses them of maliciously exposing their workers to benzene and other cancer-causing chemicals. Benzene is a known carcinogen that has been linked to various types of fatal cancers, including leukemia. 


Benzene Lawsuit Details



The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Joseph Baker Jr., who was employed for both Texaco and Chevron during his professional career. His children are serving as the plaintiffs and hope to be given compensation for their father’s pain and suffering and the financial and emotional toll it has taken on their own lives.


"During his employment (Baker) used and was exposed to toxic and carcinogenic benzene and benzene-containing products," states the suit. "As a result of such exposure Joseph Baker Jr. developed lymphoma from which he died a painful and terrible death on Oct. 14, 2006."


Works Still At Leukemia Risk



The suit also claims that the defendants knew about the potential harm the benzene exposure could have on their employees but failed to do anything about it. The plaintiffs are stating that employees are still being put at risk and could develop a benzene-related illness similar to what their father did.


"The defendant failed to timely and adequately warn workers of the dangers of said chemicals. The defendant failed to take the necessary engineering, safety, industrial hygiene and other precautions and provide adequate warning and training to ensure that the deceased was not exposed to said toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, including benzene," explains the suit.

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BP Settling Benzene Leukemia Lawsuits Wed, 02 Apr 2008 12:09:25 +0000 From Missouri an article about benzene exposure and the related diseases.  Notice that the diseases listed here are:  Leukemia and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  These are two that are pretty tightly connected to benzene exposure.

These lawsuits here are slightly different in that they are related to environmental exposure and not direct industrial exposure such we see in tire manufacturers, printers, oil workers and petroleum transporters.

From the Examiner:

The 28 remaining lawsuits against BP related to the former Amoco Sugar Creek Refinery are being settled out of court.

Attorney Lon Walters, of The Walters Law Firm, who represented the former and current Sugar Creek residents in the suit, released a statement on Thursday saying BP and the plaintiffs have agreed to resolve all lawsuits over alleged that the residents were exposed to toxic substances. Neither side would release terms of the settlement.

Jury selection was slated to begin Monday for the next trial. However, two days of settlement hearings will be held instead before Jackson County Circuit Judge Marco Roldan.

Only one of the 31 cases filed against BP has gone to trial. In 2005, Leonard Ryan, whose wife died from leukemia, was awarded $13.3 million plus undisclosed punitive damages.

BP has settled two cases out of court for undisclosed settlements.The first in 2006, with Justin Detel, of Sugar Creek, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the second in 2007, with Sean Reed, who lived in Sugar Creek from the time of his birth in 1981 until about age 5, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia in 1985 and underwent chemotherapy and radiation as a child.

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