Oil Giants Hit with Asbestos Lawsuit

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Shell Oil, Exxon Mobil, Chevron Phillips, and other well-known oil companies are being sued by 10 offshore oil rig workers for allegedly exposing the men to asbestos on the job.

According to Law360 (subscription required), the workers claim in their lawsuit that they are suffering “asbestos maladies” as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products encountered during work on offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico from the 1960s through the 1980s. The suit was originally filed in Louisiana state court in June and removed to federal court last week.

The plaintiffs were routinely required to handle 50-lb. bags of drilling mud additives, a product that contained raw asbestos, according to the lawsuit. They were often splattered by the mud, and it was not uncommon for them inadvertently to inhale it. The workers contend that the oil companies knew that the products contained raw asbestos, and further claim that despite knowing there was significant danger associated with the handling of raw asbestos, the companies never alerted them to the risks.

The lawsuit requests the court hold the oil companies responsible for any future lost wages, all medical expenses past, present, and future, damages for pain and suffering, punitive damages, and the emotional distress that comes from knowing one has been exposed to asbestos—a known cancer-causing substance.

Defendants named in the lawsuit are Shell Oil Co., Noble Drilling Co., Union Carbide Corp., Murphy Exploration & Production Co., ENSCO Offshore Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations Inc., Nico Supply Inc., Coastal Chemical Co., and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.

The lawsuit did not stipulate if any of the plaintiffs had developed mesothelioma, the rare and deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma has a latency period of anywhere between 20 and 50 years, so it is not unusual that workers exposed as early as the 1960s would only just now begin to experience symptoms.

If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation and to learn if a mesothelioma lawyer can help you.