The Plaintiff’s job required him to work in various areas of the facility including coke ovens, a tar plant, tar stills, and screening stations. He claimed that benzene was present throughout the facility, and he personally worked with valves, pumps, pipelines, and standpipes that contained benzene. He asserted that his benzene exposure occurred through inhalation, ingestion, and skin absorption.
In 2016, 33 years after his last benzene exposure at US Steel, the plaintiff was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). The plaintiff believed that his leukemia was a direct result of his benzene exposures many years before at US Steel. He filed a negligence lawsuit against U.S. Steel Corporation in Pittsburgh in 2018.
Why wasn’t this case filed under the Workers’ Compensation Act?
Many states have unique time limits for no fault workers’ compensation actions. This case was brought under Pennsylvania law. In Pennsylvania, employees cannot file a workers’ compensation action if the diagnosis of the work-related disease occurred more than 300 weeks after the last toxic exposure at work. And so, this plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim was time-barred. Luckily, in Pennsylvania, workers with no remedy under the Workers’ Compensation Act are able to seek compensation for their injuries in a personal injury action. This unique legal wrinkle allowed the plaintiff to sue his employer for negligence.
The pipefitter’s leukemia lawsuit claimed that U.S. Steel knew or should have known about the dangers of benzene exposure. He claimed that his employer failed to protect him from this dangerous work environment. The Plaintiff’s allegations included negligence, gross negligence, battery, and fraud. The case was settled before trial and the Plaintiff received an undisclosed amount from U.S. Steel.
Pipefitter Benzene Exposures and Leukemia
Pipefitters may be exposed to benzene through their work because exposure can occur during opening, maintenance, and cleaning of valves, pumps, and pipes that contain pure benzene, or through chemicals that are composed partly of benzene. If you or a loved one have been employed as a pipefitter and have been diagnosed with a benzene related illness, it may be a result of occupational exposures and you may have a claim. Call Benzene Lawyers at 1-800-BENZENE to learn more today.
Hughes Law Offices is providing this case history to inform visitors about actual case fact patterns, settlements, verdicts, and rulings. Unless specifically noted, the cases summarized herein were not handled by attorneys at Hughes Law Offices. If you believe that you have a case similar to this one, feel free to call 1-800-BENZENE and speak with an attorney today.