Hall v. EI du Pont de Nemours and Company et al
ORDER granting defendants' motion for summary judgment on specific causation 94 ...see order for specifics; that decision moots defendants' motion for summary judgment on general causation 98 ; their motion for partial summary judgment on plaintiff's punitive damages 101 , and their remaining Daubert motions 95 , 99 and 100 ; judgment for defendants will be entered separately. Signed by Honorable Joe Heaton on 3/31/2017. (cla)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
CONOCOPHILLIPS, et al.,
Plaintiff Samantha Hall sued defendants Conoco Inc., ConocoPhillips Company,
and Phillips 66 alleging her exposure to benzene vapors emitted from defendants’ refinery
in Ponca City, Oklahoma caused her to develop acute myelocytic leukemia (AML inv(16)).
She asserted negligence, negligence pro se and strict liability claims against defendants.
Defendants filed separate motions for summary judgment on general causation and specific
causation. By separate order the court has concluded that the specific causation opinions
of plaintiff’s experts, Drs. Gore and Calvey, are unreliable when tested against Daubert 1
standards and must be excluded. 2 Without their testimony plaintiff cannot demonstrate
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
With her summary judgment response plaintiff provides evidence of petroleum odors as
circumstantial evidence of defendants’ benzene emissions. However, plaintiff did not demonstrate
that plaintiff personally experienced the odors, as required by Holstine v. Texaco, 2001 WL
605137 (Okla. Dist. Ct. Apr. 16, 2001) and Christian v. Gray, 65 P.3d 591 (Okla. 2003). And, as
defendants point out, many of the incidents listed occurred when plaintiff was no longer residing
near the Refinery. They, alone, are insufficient to demonstrate the exposure needed to “rule in”
benzene as a potential cause of plaintiff’s disease.
that benzene specifically caused plaintiff’s AML(inv16), an essential element of each of
Accordingly, defendants’ motion for summary judgment on specific causation
[Doc. #94] is granted. That decision moots defendants’ motion for summary judgment on
general causation [Doc. #98]; their motion for partial summary judgment on plaintiff’s
punitive damages claim under 23 Okla. Stat. sec 9.1 [Doc. #101], and their remaining
Daubert motions [Doc. Nos. 95, 99, 100]. Judgment for defendants will be entered
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated this 31st day of March, 2017.
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