The surviving children of a man employed by Chevron USA recently filed a lawsuit against the energy company for exposing him to benzene and other cancer-causing chemicals, which ultimately led to his premature death. His family claims Chevron knew of the dangers of chemical exposure but failed to inform workers of the potential health risks. Benzene exposure attorneys at Pintas & Mullins explore the basis and merits of this case and others like it.
Benzene is a chemical compound widely used in the United States, despite it being a known human carcinogen. Numerous long-term studies associate benzene with leukemia, kidney cancer, multiple myeloma, and premature death. The man whose family is now suing on his behalf passed away from leukemia in 2013.
This is far from the first time Chevron has been sued for exposing its employees to carcinogenic chemicals like benzene. Families of deceased loved ones throughout the country, from Ohio to Louisiana, are constantly filing suit against Chevron for its negligent exposure. Almost all of these cases rest on similar claims:
• Chevron knew and in fact has always known that benzene and other chemicals used in its facilities can cause serious, life-threatening health conditions
• Chevron failed to instruct or warn employees of these risks
• Beyond this, Chevron purposefully misrepresented the safety of its products
Chevron Also Facing Mass Environmental Contamination Lawsuits
In 2009, a mass tort lawsuit was filed against the company over negligent benzene exposure. About 200 people took part in the suit, which alleged the company severely contaminated an entire community's air, water and soil.
These claims were based on discoveries that, over a period of about four decades, a Gulf Oil refinery near Hooven, Ohio leaked over eight million gallons of gasoline and other benzene-containing fuel into the area.
Residents in California also recently sued Chevron after thousands of people were hospitalized from a disastrous fire ignited by a refinery. Plaintiffs accused Chevron of willful and conscious disregard for public safety, and sought compensation for emergency response, cleanup costs, medical expenses, and public damage. After the incident, which occurred in 2012 in Richmond, Chevron was fined about $1 million and paid more than $10 million to local hospitals, residents and government agencies who were most affected.
The story grabbing the most headlines, however, is coming out of Ecuador. This case centers on destruction of the Amazon rainforest and its watershed, which is the largest river in the world. For the past several decades, Chevron has been deliberately dumping billions of gallons of waste and oil into the Amazon watershed. As can be expected, the consequences of this have been fast and far-reaching, creating a severe public health crisis in addition to the environmental implications.
Ecuadorians living near the Amazon are now suffering from extraordinarily high rates of cancer, birth defects, poverty, and disease. This first lawsuit was filed about 20 years ago, however due to a series of delays the company was not found guilty until 2011. Chevron was fined $19 billion to pay for environmental cleanup, provide health care and clean water, and restore the ecosystem and wellbeing of Ecuadorians.