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U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Toxic Exposure Death Case

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The widow of a leukemia victim failed to persuade the Supreme Court Monday to consider allowing her to sue oil companies over her husband’s exposure to a toxic chemical which eventually resulted in his death.

The decision not to accept this case will have severe repercussions to workers across the state of Alabama where the original claim was brought. In essence, the Supreme Court has slammed the doors of the courthouse shut for those workers in the state who are knowingly exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace by their employers and other third parties, but who do not develop disease until after 2 years from the time of the exposure.

Advocates for consumer rights petitioned the court on behalf of the Clines to hear the case in order to right the injustice affirmed by the Alabama Supreme Court when it failed to overturn the dismissal of Cline’s claims under a restrictive Alabama statute. Cline was exposed to the chemical Benzene while at work which is recognized as a carcinogen. The Clines Attorneys, including the PUBLIC JUSTICE law firm argued that the Alabama Supreme Court violated the constitutional rights of countless toxic tort victims in Alabama when it denied them the right to sue for their injuries.

The decision dismissing Cline’s case has be described as Kafkaesque, i.e. Cline was exposed to a chemical but by statute was precluded from bringing a claim until he could prove an injury. Thereafter, when he developed cancer, he was precluded from bringing a claim because he did not develop disease until two years after the exposure barring him under the state’s statute of limitations.

At bottom, the decision by the US Supreme Court not to hear this case serves as a direct assault on workers of this country shielding companies from lawsuits no matter how negligently, recklessly or dishonestly they act.