The father of a seven-year-old girl who died from a rare form of cancer has filed a benzene exposure lawsuit against Shell Oil Company and a Shell Oil gas station owner, accusing them of negligently allowing toxic components to leak into the family garden from an underground gasoline storage tank.
Vivienne Knopp of Northvale, New Jersey died two years ago after a grueling battle with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma a rare form of brain cancer that almost exclusively affects children. According to John Knopp’s lawsuit on behalf of his daughter’s estate, “Through the negligence, failure to maintain, failure to warn, and/or other improper and illegal acts of defendants, dangerous chemical and environmental contaminants, including MTBE, Benzene and others, leaked from an underground storage tank and otherwise escaped from defendant’s property and leached onto plaintiff’s property causing damage thereto.”
Benzene Exposure Lawsuit Based in Part on DEP Findings
According to a family representative, evidence of the benzene exposure that impacted Vivienne Knopp came from a Department of Environmental Protection report that showed that the gas station had been the source of a contaminated plume that impacted properties nearby. The representative also said that the state agency did not provide enough warnings to homeowners regarding the dangers and that the contamination violated New Jersey’s Spill Compensation and Control Act because contamination had spread beyond the source to offsite areas. This fact may make Shell Oil and Tappan Realty, which owns the gas station, liable for damages, including those associated with Vivienne’s illness and death.
The child’s father has indicated that her cancer was caused by benzene exposure and exposure to other contaminants. The family’s home is just 500 feet away from the gas station, which is on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s list of contaminated sites. The benzene exposure lawsuit is seeking damages based upon wrongful death, conspiracy, and negligence.