A San Francisco jury has awarded an $8,000,000 verdict to a 17-year employee of Seariver Maritime, Inc. and its predecessor, Exxon Shipping Co. The employee developed kidney cancer as a result of the unsafe working conditions provided by the companies. The jury found that the plaintiff, Mack Shelby of Rock Springs, Georgia, was frequently exposed to benzene and other toxins during the course of his employment and ultimately developed kidney cancer as a result. As part of his job, Mr. Shelby was required to clean tanks, unload cargo and was repeatedly exposed to unsafe levels of airborne benzene and other toxins.
The jury found that Exxon was negligent in failing to provide Mr. Shelby with a safe working environment and that the dangerous conditions of his work on its vessels caused his cancer. As compensation for his injuries, the jury awarded Mr. Shelby $350,000 for lost future earnings, $1,125,000 for pain, suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life in the past and $6,525,000 for pain, suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life in the future. Mr. Shelby was represented by Robert A. Chaffin, a lawyer with the firm Chaffin & Stiles, Houston, Texas; S. Reed Morgan of the Law Offices of S. Reed Morgan, Comfort, Texas; and Lyle Cavin of the Law Offices of Lyle C. Cavin, Jr., Oakland, California. They did an outstanding job.
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