SOURCE: Chaffin & Stiles Law Firm

May 15, 2008 16:52 ET

Jury Returns Verdict of $8,000,000 for Exxon Seaman Reports Lead Counsel Chaffin & Stiles Law Firm

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwire - May 15, 2008) - A San Francisco jury awarded an $8,000,000 verdict yesterday 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 twelve-person 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 their vessels caused Mr. Shelby's cancer.

"This was a tragic incident which could and should have been prevented," said lead counsel, Robert Chaffin. "This man's life and the lives of his family have been irrevocably altered for the worse due to the irresponsible actions of the defendant. We can only hope that the award from the jury will go a long way in easing some of their suffering."

The jury reached a verdict after only one full day of deliberations.

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 lead counsel, Robert A. Chaffin of 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, served as co-counsel in the trial of this case.

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