A couple from Brazoria County, Texas has filed suit against a group of petrochemical companies, alleging that the man’s leukemia was caused by prolonged benzene exposure.

Jan and James Callihan filed the suit on December 8 in Galveston County, Texas District Court naming Univar USA, Atlantic Richfield Company, BP, Shell Chemical LP, the Sherwin-Williams Company, and the Dow Chemical Company as defendants. They claim that he contracted a lethal form of leukemia due to his nearly 20 years of work with benzene-related products dating back to the 1960s.

According to court documents, James Callahin handled paint products manufactured, distributed, and sold by Sherwin-Williams that contained benzene in addition to handling commercial benzene from the other five defendants during his time as a journeyman laborer. The documents added that he worked close enough to the substance to inhale its loose particles.

The court documents stand that the benzene was “in a defective condition, unreasonably dangerous when sold by defendants.”

The Callihans say the benzene and related materials were the cause of permanent and disabling injuries to James Callihan. Those injuries ultimately translated into acute myelogenous leukemia.

The suit claims negligence on the part of the defendants for failure to properly manufacture the products and failure to warn of benzene’s adverse effects. It says James Callihan’s condition is likely to become terminal over time.

James Callihan is claiming damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, loss of wages, disfigurement, and medical expenses. Jan Calliahn claims damages for lost consortium.

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