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Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Equipment, Supply Vendors.

The family of a Baltimore newspaper press operator has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against eight industry vendors, arguing that the man's lifetime exposure to benzene and other chemicals caused his acute myelogenous leukemia, according to the complaint, filed on April 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The suit names Safety-Kleen Systems, C & W Pressroom Products, Chevron USA, Flint Ink, Handschy Industries, Sun Chemical, Unocal Corp., and US Ink as defendants, alleging 33 counts of negligence, strict liability and warning, negligent failure to warn, defective design, manufacture strict liability, gross negligence, and malice.

The family seeks punitive and exemplary damages from each defendant, as well as "damages for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of society, consortium, companionship, love, affection, support, pre and post judgment interests, and costs of suit."

According to the complaint, Neil Kelly worked as a pressman for some 45 years, first at The Baltimore (Md.) News-American and later at The Sun, also in Baltimore. In April 2005, the Graphic Communications International Union member was diagnosed with AML. He died 19 months later, on Nov. 16, 2006.

"During this time, [Kelly] was exposed to toxins and carcinogens, including but not limited to solvents, naptha, toluene, benzene, benzene-containing products, press washes, inks, roller washes, blanket washes, type washes and/or other carcinogens supplied and/or manufactured by Defendants," the complaint states. "Mr. Kelly's exposure to these solvents and chemicals was a legal cause of his developing acute myelogenous leukemia and other blood disorders and diseases and other injuries and diseases."

The complaint also invokes the "discovery rule," alleging that Kelly's family only learned the cause of Kelly's injuries and death within the last two years, which addresses Texas' two-year statute of limitations on wrongful-conduct suits.

Safety-Kleen's general counsel, Mark Phariss, told E&P that he had no knowledge of the suit, adding that he would consult with the litigation attorney who handles such matters for the company.

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Author:Campbell, Meg
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:May 1, 2008
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