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Refinery worker sues over decades of alleged exposure to toxic fumes

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EDWARDSVILLE – A former refinery worker and smoker claims he was not warned about exposure to toxic chemicals on the job or toxic substances in light cigarettes, causing him to develop cancer.

Plaintiffs Donald and Betty Bannister filed the lawsuit in the Madison County Circuit Court against John Crane Inc., Shell USA, Inc., Phillips 66 Company, 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products, Chemguard, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & CO., National Foam, Inc. HWRT Oil Company, ITG Brands, LLC and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, citing negligence.

According to the lawsuit, Donald Bannister worked at the Wood River Refinery from 1964 to 2004 as a laborer, firefighter and truck driver under the employ of Shell Oil Company and Phillips 66. Other manufacturers at or near the refinery included 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products, Chemguard, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & CO., National Foam, Inc. and HWRT Oil Company.

Bannister claims that during his decades of employment, he was required to work in environments which caused him to be exposed to toxic chemicals produced by the defendants, including PFAS/AFFF, asbestos and PAHs.

The lawsuit also states that beginning in 1963, Bannister began smoking Winston Light cigarettes sold by ITG Brands, LLC and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company believing they were a safer alternative to unfiltered cigarettes as advertised by the manufacturer. Bannister claims they were not safer, and there were no safety warnings on the products when he smoked them.

Donald alleges the defendants knew that his exposure to these toxic agents were hazardous but failed to take proper measures to protect him from exposure. He claims that as a result of his exposure to these various toxic substances, he has developed bladder cancer, prostate cancer and skin cancer.

Betty alleges the defendants’ actions have deprived of her of her husband’s consortium and companionship.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus court costs, interest and any other relief the court deems proper. They are represented in this case by attorneys Ted. N. Gianaris and Joshua A. Edelson of Gianaris Trial Lawyers, LLC in Alton.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 2023LA000191

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