Shrader & Associates Obtains $7.5 Million Verdict against Kinder Morgan

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The national law firm of Shrader & Associates obtained a $7.5 million verdict against Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. for the wrongful death of Rick Lewis, who was exposed to benzene while working as a gasoline tanker-truck driver at its bulk loading facility.

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"The jury's verdict confirms that Kinder Morgan acted in a negligent manner in distributing benzene-containing gasoline without ever warning of the dangers associated with benzene exposure."

The national law firm of Shrader & Associates obtained a $7.5 million verdict against Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. for the wrongful death of Rick Lewis, who was exposed to benzene while working as a gasoline tanker-truck driver at its bulk loading facility.

Shrader & Associates represented the family of Rick Lewis, a gasoline tanker-truck driver in California and Nevada. From 2002-2008, he loaded gasoline at the Kinder Morgan terminal in Las Vegas on a daily basis and delivered the fuels to various retail outlets. Gasoline contains up to 3% benzene. Plaintiffs alleged that Mr. Lewis’s repeated exposures to benzene in gasoline at the Kinder Morgan terminal caused him to develop Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).

MDS is a disease of the bone marrow which causes the abnormal production of blood cells and platelets. It is generally incurable and requires chemotherapy, transfusions, and bone marrow transplants. Benzene is a known carcinogen which can cause various forms blood and bone marrow diseases and leukemia. Mr. Lewis was diagnosed with MDS in March 2008 and died in May 2009 at the age of 58.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. operates thousands of miles of gasoline pipelines and approximately 180 bulk terminals nationwide.

The dangers of benzene exposure from bulk gasoline operations, including damage to DNA, have been recognized by several public health agencies and published in the medical and scientific literature for decades. Plaintiffs’ lawsuit alleged that Kinder Morgan failed to monitor its operations for benzene exposure during routine operations, disregarded normal safety and industrial hygiene practices, and failed to warn its employees and contractors about the hazards associated with benzene exposure.

"The jury's verdict confirms that Kinder Morgan acted in a negligent manner in distributing benzene-containing gasoline without ever warning of the dangers associated with benzene exposure," lead trial lawyer Justin Shrader said. "The verdict underscores that corporations have a duty to workers to protect them from hazards associated with their facilities and products. Although we cannot bring Mr. Lewis back, we hope that this verdict will send a message that these inactions will not be tolerated."

Cause No. A5666869: Lewis, et al. v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, LP, District Court, Clark County Nevada, Dept. 27, Honorable Nancy Allf

Shrader & Associates is a leading national law firm that specializes in representing individuals harmed by dangerous products and toxic chemicals. These dedicated professionals have extensive experience handling benzene and asbestos-related lawsuits.

For more information, contact Keith Patton at 713-782-0000. http://www.shraderlaw.com

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