Bay Area jury awards $21.4 million to the families of two brothers who died of cancer as a result of benzene exposure
San Francisco, CA (March 29, 2019) – A jury in Contra Costa Superior Court today awarded $21.4 million to the families of two brothers who died of cancer as a result of their exposure to the known cancer-causing chemical benzene. The trial lasted over four weeks with the jury deliberating for roughly 3 days.
Mary Alexander, co-counsel for the families, said “This oil company has been held accountable for their negligence in putting profits before people. The tremendous verdict will help ensure protection of consumers as it sends a message that any company that fails to warn about toxic chemicals in the products they sell, such as benzene which causes cancer, will be held responsible.”
The families of Gary Eaves and his brother Randy Eaves filed a lawsuit against Union Oil which made the benzene-containing rubber solvent the brothers regularly worked with at their jobs in a tire manufacturing plant. The brothers were longtime employees of the plant and exposed to large amounts of benzene in their work. Gary was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June of 2013 at the age of just 59. Randy was first diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in June of 2016 also at the age of 59.
Union Oil was accused of failing to warn Gary or Randy of the potential dangers of benzene exposure. The jury sided with the plaintiffs who contended that the oil company knew that the solvents they sold contained benzene. The plaintiffs also contended the defendant knew, or should have known, that benzene exposure was extremely hazardous and cancer-causing.
The families were represented by Mary Alexander of Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C. and Scott Frieling of Allen Stewart, P.C.
The case is Regina Eaves et al. v. Ashland Inc., et al., Contra Costa Superior Court Case No. C16-00815.