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DEFENDANT’S Toxic Tort – Plaintiff exposed to benzene-containing products manufactured by defendants – Failure to warn of dangers of benzene – Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.

Philadelphia County, PA

The plaintiff, in this toxic tort action, claimed that years of exposure to benzene containing products produced by the defendants while the plaintiff worked as a mechanic caused the plaintiff to contract Leukemia, which claimed the plaintiff’s life in ________. The defendant denied that the decedent’s exposure to benzene caused the Leukemia, and argued that it was the decedent’s smoking habit that caused his disease.

As a condition of his employment as a mechanic with Pep Boys, the male plaintiff worked directly and indirectly with various benzene-containing products, including, but not limited to, gasoline, penetrating solvents, solvents, and degreasers, which products and/or their ingredients, were manufactured, refined, designed, produced, processed, compounded, converted, packaged, sold, distributed, marketed, re-labeled, supplied and/or otherwise placed into the stream of commerce by the defendants. As a direct result of his exposure, the plaintiff contracted Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, with which he was diagnosed in August of ________. He died from the disease on October 7, ________ at age 55. The defendant, Sunoco, was the only remaining defendant at trial. The widow of the decedent continued the plaintiff’s case after his death, and alleged that the defendants knew, and or should have known that benzene causes cancer, leukemia, and other blood and bone marrow disease and damage, and is otherwise extremely dangerous to human health. In addition, the plaintiff argued that the defendants failed to take precautions to warn and/or adequately warn the plaintiff and his employers of the reasonably safe, sufficient, and necessary safeguards, protective equipment, wearing apparel, appliances, and engineering controls necessary to protect them from exposure to benzene. The defense argued that benzene studies do not support the assertion that gasoline causes AML. The defense offered expert testimony of studies showing there was no increased risk of AML from exposure to gasoline. It was also argued that the plaintiff’s AML was caused by his two-pack-per-day smoking habit, as cigarette smoke is a known cause of AML.The jury found no negligence against the defendant.

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