"SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — A California jury has returned a $63 million verdict against Chevron after finding the oil giant covered up a toxic chemical pit on land purchased by a man who built a house on it and was later diagnosed with a blood cancer.
Kevin Wright, who has multiple myeloma, unknowingly built his home directly over the chemical pit near Santa Barbara in 1985, according to his lawsuit.
Starting in 1974, Chevron subsidiary Union Oil Company of California had operated a sump pit for oil and gas production, a process that left the carcinogenic chemical benzene on the property, court papers said.
Wright bought the land and built the house in 1985. Nearly three decades later, he was diagnosed with the cancer that attacks plasma cells in the blood and can be caused by benzene exposure, court documents said. "