$725M Benzene Verdict Against Exxon Earns National Media Attention

Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel partners Patrick Wigle and Rajeev Mittal and Locks Law Firm partner Andrew DuMont were named among Law360’s “Lions of the Week” for their $725.5 million toxic exposure verdict against ExxonMobil. The May 9 verdict in Philadelphia’s First Judicial District court generated national media attention based on the sheer size of the verdict and the fact that jurors returned a key finding that exposure to gasoline caused plaintiff Paul Gill’s acute myeloid leukemia diagnosis.

“The jury in a 10-2 verdict decided late Thursday that Mobil, which merged with Exxon in the late 1990s, knew about the adverse health effects of handling its petroleum products, which contain cancer-causing benzene, but did not adequately warn people of the risks,” noted the Wall Street Journal.

Writes Reuters:

“The jury found Exxon liable for negligently failing to warn about the health risks of benzene, which the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) has classified as a known carcinogen. The entire verdict was in compensatory damages, according to Gill’s attorneys.”

From Law360:

“Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel and the Locks Law Firm roared when a Philadelphia jury on Thursday awarded $725.5 million to Paul Gill, a New York service station mechanic who contended that Exxon Mobil Corp. failed to warn consumers about the health risks of benzene in its products, and that his exposure to the chemical was responsible for his leukemia diagnosis.

“During the trial, Gill’s attorneys said they presented evidence that Exxon allegedly concealed information about benzene in their products that might otherwise have spurred businesses to limit employees’ exposure via vapor recovery systems and respirators.”

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“The suit said that benzene had been known to cause cancer before 1964 and that there is no safe level of exposure. It accused Exxon Mobil of gross negligence, saying the company knew, or should have known, that people working with or in close proximity to benzene-related products could suffer from “blood and bone marrow poisoning and damage, damage to DNA, chromosome damage, cancer, leukemia, and other blood and bone marrow disease and damage.”

From Bloomberg:

“Gill’s lawyer Patrick Wigle called the verdict “important” and said Exxon has “resisted warning the public and taking basic precautions” to limit exposure to benzene. “We’re grateful that this jury listened closely to the testimony and decided it’s time to hold corporations like Exxon accountable for placing profits over people,” Wigle said in the statement.”

About Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel

Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel is a national plaintiffs’ law firm devoted to helping families in personal injury and wrongful death cases involving asbestos and mesothelioma, benzene exposure, dangerous pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and birth defects caused by pesticides, toxic chemicals, opioid use, and semiconductor chip manufacturing. The law firm also represents plaintiffs in qui tam whistleblower matters and cases that uncover false claims submitted to the government. Based in Dallas, Texas, with offices in Los Angeles, California, and Moline, Illinois, Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel has represented families from all fifty states and many foreign countries, as well as foreign governments.

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