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Widow of leukemia victim files toxic tort claim against manufacturers of benzene-containing products

By Jon Campisi | Aug 3, 2012

The widow of a former pressman who died three years after being diagnosed with Acute

Myelogenous Leukemia, a disease the man allegedly contracted as a result of his exposure to dangerous products at the printing shop where he worked, has filed a toxic tort complaint against companies that were engaged in the manufacture and distribution of the products that are said to have contributed to the man’s death.

Philadelphia attorneys Michael B. Leh and Andrew J. DuPont, of the Locks Law Firm, filed the civil action Aug. 1 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court on behalf of York, Pa. resident Norma Duttera, who is suing on behalf of her deceased husband, Sanford Duttera.

According to the lawsuit, Sanford Duttera worked as a pressman and pressroom helper at York, Pa.-based Standard Register Company from about 1959 to 1998.

During his employment at the print shop, Duttera came into daily contact with various benzene-containing products, including, but not limited to, press and blanket washes, de-glazers, roller washes, rubber rejuvenators, metering roller cleansers, varnish removers, drying agents, fountain solutions, rust penetrants, penetrating oils, inks, dyes and ink thinners, the lawsuit states.

The suit claims that Sanford Duttera was exposed to the benzene-containing products, and to the vapors, aerosols, mist and fog from the products, through inhalation, ingestion and dermal absorption.

As a result of his exposure to the toxic materials, Sanford Duttera was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in March 2007, the complaint alleges.

He eventually died from the disease in the summer of 2010.

Before his death, the lawsuit claims, Sanford Duttera suffered multiple symptoms and side effects as a result of his disease, all of which required him to undergo various medical treatments.

The lawsuit accuses the various defendants of negligence, claiming that the companies knew, or should have known, that those working in close contact with benzene-containing products could be in danger of contracting cancer, leukemia and other blood and bone marrow diseases.

“Defendants knew, should and/or reasonably could have known that their benzene-containing products were carcinogenic, leukemogenic, inherently defective, ultra-hazardous, dangerous, deleterious, poisonous and otherwise highly harmful to the body and health of Decedent and persons similarly situated,” the lawsuit states.

“Decedent, his employers and similarly situated persons did not and could not know of the nature and extent of the danger to their bodies and health, including the risk for cancer and leukemia, caused by exposure to Defendants’ benzene-containing products and/or vapors therefrom.”

In addition to the negligence count, the complaint contains counts of breach of warranty, strict liability, intentional tort-battery, wrongful death and survival act.

Duttera’s widow seeks damages in excess of $50,000, together with attorney’s fees, delay damages, costs and other court relief.

The following defendants are named in the civil action: Sunoco Inc., Radiator Specialty Co., United States Steel Corp., Rogersol Inc., Rycoline Products Inc., Sun Chemical Corp., Van Son Holland Ink Corp., Varn International Inc., Day International Inc., Printers’ Service (doing business as Prisco), Fehnel Press Service & Supply LLC, Cabrun Ink Products Corp., Sal Chemical Co. Inc., Quantum Chemical LLC, FBC Chemical Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Ashland Inc., Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc., Akzo Nobel Paints LLC, Akzo Nobel Coatings Inc., Akzo Nobel Inks Corp., E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Co., Gordon Bartels Co., Safety-Kleen Systems Inc., Handschy Industries Inc., Chevron USA Inc., Harcros Chemicals Inc., T.H. Agriculture and Nutrition LLC, Philips Electronics North America Corp. and Emco Chemical Distributors Inc.


The case ID number is 120704518.

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