Companies seek new trial date for benzene lawsuit

Benzene Companies seek new trial date for benzene lawsuitChevron USA, Shell Oil, Motiva Enterprises and Goodyear Tire filed a motion in the Jefferson County District Court to move a case off the September 2018 trial docket and place it on the September 2019 docket. The case in which the companies are named involves claims that they knowingly exposed a worker to toxic benzene, which he alleges caused him to suffer from a serious medical condition.

Louis Gest filed his complaint on Sept. 9, 2016, and a trial date was set for September 2018. Earlier this month, the companies said they have conducted preliminary discovery and wanted to push back the trial date as they enter settlement discussions. Gest’s lawsuit also names Lyondell Chemical.

According to the lawsuit, Gest was a pipefitter, and chemical plant and refinery worker, for the companies from 1970 to 2005. He claims he was exposed to carcinogen benzene and products that contained benzene while working for the companies.

He believes his exposure to benzene caused him to develop myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), condition that occurs when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow become abnormal. MDS is considered a type of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

About one-third of patients with MDS progress to a rapidly growing cancer of bone marrow cells called acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The American Cancer Society lists benzene exposure as one of the causes of MDS and AML.

Test’s lawsuit claims that the companies are responsible for his illness because they failed to provide adequate handling instructions for benzene and products that contained benzene, and failed to warn workers when they were in areas where the toxic chemical was present.

Gest is seeking a trial by jury and monetary relief of more than $1 million.

Southeast Texas Record
American Cancer Society