Benzene, United States Steel, Million and Lymphoma

Benzene, ExxonMobil, Million and Lymphoma is about a chemical plant employee that alleges his workplace exposure to toxic substances and carcinogens – benzene and vinyl chloride – caused his lymphoma.  A brief summary of the Benzene, ExxonMobil, Million and Lymphoma case follows:

  • This is a toxic tort action on appeal brought by James and Gloria Million (the Millions) from a prior case filed in Louisiana.  We affirm the district court’s judgment.
  • James Million worked in the chemical industry for over forty years. After his retirement, he was diagnosed in February 2016 with lymphoma, which is a form of cancer, and pulmonary embolisms.
    • Prior to filing the present suit, he and his wife Gloria Million filed a diversity action in federal district court on February 1, 2017, asserting claims of negligence and strict liability under Louisiana law. 
    • The defendants in that suit were James’s former employers, Brock Services, LLC (Brock) and Protherm Services Group (Protherm), and one of their general contractors, Exxon Mobil (Exxon).
    • The complaint alleged that James was exposed to hazardous chemicals, including benzene and vinyl chloride, during his employment.
      • In a November 2018 deposition, James described working with hazardous chemicals at plants belonging to the Cos-Mar Company (Cos-Mar).

The Court ordered as follows:

  • Cos-Mar moved to dismiss the lawsuit under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
  • Cos-Mar argued that the Millions’ claims were barred by the one-year prescriptive period during which Louisiana personal injury suits must be filed.
  • The district court granted Cos-Mar’s motion and dismissed the claims with prejudice. The court held that prescription barred the claims because the one-year statutory period began in February 2016, with James Million’s diagnosis, and the lawsuit was filed in 2019. The Millions moved for reconsideration of the ruling or, in the alternative, for leave to amend the complaint. The district court denied reconsideration and leave to amend.

For more on the Benzene, ExxonMobil, Million and Lymphoma case in the United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, please follow this link: Benzene, ExxonMobil, Million and Lymphoma

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