1 Asbestos News Summer 2012 Field Fisher Waterhouse support Action Mesothelioma Day Field Fisher Waterhouse s specialist Mesothelioma and Asbestos team attended a number of events on Friday 6th July 2012 for Action Mesothelioma Day. The day is about raising awareness and supporting and remembering those who have been affected by mesothelioma. Peter Williams and Dushal Mehta attended a dove release at Stratford Town Hall (pictured above) organised by the London Hazards Group and supported by Field Fisher Waterhouse. The event was well attended and there were a number of speakers on the day. One of the speakers, Eileen Beadle, lost her husband to mesothelioma and said a few words about her experience, and in particular the dreadful impact it has had on her and her family. Andrew Morgan attended an event in Portsmouth organised by the Hampshire Asbestos Support and Awareness Group. Dr Adrian Dobbs of Queen Mary s College, spoke about advances in biochemistry and Debbie Brewer spoke about her life after diagnosis. Field Fisher Waterhouse are gold sponsors of Mesothelioma UK. A specialist resource centre dedicated to providing information, support and improved care and treatment The asbestos team at Field Fisher Waterhouse is in a league of their own, nationally Legal 500 Freephone
2 Contents Introduction Welcome to the summer 2012 edition of Asbestos News FFW Support Action Mesothelioma day Introduction Settlement of 125,000 Caroline Pinfold on trigger issue $67,000 for US Navy veteran Archives prove crucial in settlement 90,000 for former steel fixer Two case studies Meet the team At Field Fisher Waterhouse we understand what a difficult time patients and their families may be going through when there is a diagnosis of an asbestos related disease. We produce this newsletter to give you an insight into the work that we do so that you can see what can be achieved. Our clients are everyday people who have the right to compensation for a terrible illness which they have contracted through no fault of their own, but through the negligence and lack of care of their employers and others. In 2011, we recovered 15 million for our clients and overall we have recovered 165 million for our clients in over 2,250 successful cases. We also recovered more than half a million pounds for clients with pleural plaques via the Ministry of Justice scheme. Our lawyers are renowned for their expertise, their commitment and the care they take in such sensitive situations. We are pleased to report that Caroline Pinfold joined our team in She has over 25 years experience in asbestos disease claims. You will see from some of the cases in this issue that there are many different circumstances that our clients encounter and we cater for them all. We deal with things very quickly, with minimal fuss and disruption, allowing clients to concentrate on the more important business of enjoying time with their families. You only have to read the quotes from our clients and from the independent legal directories to know that we work quickly and compassionately to win the settlements that our clients deserve. Please take the time to read on and find out what we can achieve for you and your family. Please call us on freephone We would be happy to speak to you about your claim. I hope you find this newsletter useful. Peter Williams Head of Asbestos Team The excellent litigation team at Field Fisher Waterhouse is particularly strong at industrial disease work Legal 500
3 Freephone Settlement of 125,000 for a client within 7 months of starting the claim 3 Mr & Mrs Hickman Frederick Hickman started working at G N Haden & Sons Limited in 1953 at the age of 20. He was initially employed as a fitter s mate. By the time he left the company in 1967 he was a fully qualified fitter. Mr Hickman spent the majority of his time being called off-site to repair and maintain boilers in small schools, banks, law firms and churches. Before any repair work could be carried out Mr Hickman would have to strip the lagging, often using a hammer and chisel before clearing the debris from the floor with a shovel and a broom. The work was often carried out in cramped conditions, without any ventilation or protective clothing. The air would be full of harmful dust, in which Mr Hickman and his team would toil for hours. In March 2011 Mr Hickman began to get breathless, despite being a non-smoker his whole life. He visited the Queen Thanks to Andrew s specialist knowledge he was immediately able to identify the insurer Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich where he had fluid drained from his lungs. He was then referred to Guy s Hospital, at London Bridge, where he was retained for 1 week for further treatment. He was subsequently diagnosed with mesothelioma which caused his breathlessness, a persistent cough, chest wall discomfort and weight loss. Mr Hickman contacted Andrew Morgan to make investigations in to a potential claim. G N Haden & Sons Limited were well known to Andrew who has sued them successfully a number of times. Thanks to our comprehensive database and Andrew s specialist knowledge, Andrew was immediately able to identify the relevant insurer and then prove that the defendant ought to have known about the dangers of asbestos exposure and taken relevant measures to protect their employee. Due to his prior experience in pursuing claims against G N Haden & Sons Limited, Andrew managed to obtain specialist evidence and negotiate a global settlement of 128,000 within 7 months. I must say that the service I was given from Field Fisher Waterhouse, and in particular Andrew Morgan who handled my claim and brought it to a very satisfactory conclusion, was absolutely first class. Frederick Hickman Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
4 Caroline Pinfold comments on asbestos trigger issue Since 2006, four employers liability insurance companies had refused to make any payment of compensation to mesothelioma sufferers or their families. They argued that only the insurer who had a policy in place when the mesothelioma developed should pay (because the onset of the illness should trigger the policy), rather than the insurer who had a policy in place when the exposure to asbestos occurred. If their argument had been accepted, in cases where there was no policy in place at the time the illness developed there would be no compensation for the victim. As many companies no longer exist by the time the mesothelioma develops, they would not have had a policy in place at this later stage and could not be sued themselves. This would have left many families without the Caroline Pinfold welcomes the trigger decision compensation they deserve, and would have represented a double tragedy for those involved. The Supreme Court decided that the policies were triggered when the exposure to asbestos took place. This is the basis on which these claims had been dealt with before these arguments were raised and is a very welcome decision. Caroline Pinfold re-joined FFW as a partner in the asbestos disease team in April Caroline had previously been with the firm for almost 20 years and had been a partner before taking on the role of consultant so that she could spend more time with her children. She then spent a few years with another firm, where she was also a partner, before deciding to return to FFW. Caroline has acted in a number of mesothelioma cases which have been reported, including a successful claim for a teacher. Her most recent high profile case (Drake v Foster Wheeler Ltd) was a landmark decision in which the cost of providing care to a mesothelioma sufferer in a Hospice was awarded as part of the compensation. This meant that much needed funds could be given by grateful family members to the hospice. It has set a precedent for all other mesothelioma claims where care has been provided by a hospice funded by voluntary donations. Compensation for exposure at the Shell Building, Waterloo and Camberwell School of Arts Dushal Mehta acted for Mrs Jillian Copley following her husband s death due to mesothelioma. Mr David Copley worked for a number of companies throughout his life but spent most of his time employed at the Camberwell School of Arts in their maintenance team. Prior to that, he had spent a few years, in the early 1960s, working as a lift engineer at the Shell building, Waterloo, when it was being constructed. Mr Copley passed away in July 2008 and it was not until the investigation in to his death that the family were made aware that he had died due to mesothelioma. Dushal was able to locate relevant witnesses and prove the exposure occurred Mr and Mrs Copely had only briefly spoken about his asbestos exposure during their marriage. All that she could recall was that he worked in the Shell building when asbestos was being sprayed and that he used to wear asbestos gloves and aprons whilst working at the School of Arts. Dushal Mehta, by carrying out research into the history of Shell in London, established that it must have been the Shell building in Waterloo where Mr Copley was working whilst employed by Otis Lifts. At this particular time, the Shell building was in fact being constructed. Dushal was therefore able to prove that he must have been present when it was being insulated. Dushal was also able to locate witnesses that had worked with Mr Copley at the School of Arts and they recalled other instances when Mr Copley may have come into contact with asbestos. Dushal issued court proceedings against Otis and also the body responsible for the School of Arts, the London Pension Fund Authority. Dushal managed to recover compensation for Mrs Copley without the need for her to go to court. She was very pleased with the outcome.
5 Freephone $67,000 from US Trusts for Royal Navy Veteran 5 Mr Linsdell and family Mr Linsdell served in the Royal Navy for 8 and a half years during which time he was required to maintain and repair the ship s engines. As part of his day-to-day routine he applied asbestos covering to the engines which he would usually mix himself. Even though Mr Linsdell s face and clothes were often being covered in the highly dangerous mineral he was provided with no safety equipment. In 2009 Mr Linsdell was diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma. He immediately contacted Andrew Morgan for advice. Veterans who suffer exposure to asbestos whilst in the Royal Navy and Andrew Morgan worked with an American Attorney to make a number of claims against different trusts develop an asbestos related condition as a result, cannot claim compensation but are entitled to a War Pension. This is the effect of Crown Immunity. But, working with an American Attorney, Andrew made claims to various Asbestos Trusts in the United States. These trusts have been set up to provide compensation for individuals who have contracted mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos products that were manufactured in the USA. These trusts make modest payments of compensation to UK citizens in some cases. Because Mr Linsdell served in Royal Navy vessels which had been serviced and repaired in the USA, Andrew was able to make a number of claims to various different trusts and obtained payments for Mr Lindsdell totalling approximately $67, (approx 41,613.70). I should like to express my thanks to Andrew Morgan of Field Fisher Waterhouse in London, and also to Bobbie Butterfield in America for actively pursuing compensation payments on my behalf. Everything they have done has been stress free, fast and efficient and with genuine care Mr Linsdell Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
6 FFW s archives prove crucial in winning difficult lung cancer case Dushal Mehta acted for Sharon Goggin, the eldest daughter and personal representative to the estate of the late Mr Brian Steer who was diagnosed with lung cancer. Mr Steer was diagnosed with pleural plaques in At the time, pleural plaques was not a compensatable injury and so Mr Steer was unable to obtain compensation. In 2009, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and after a relatively short but painful illness he died later that same year. He had been cared for in his local hospice, Michael Sobell, for the last few months of his life but otherwise his daughter Sharon and other family members assisted with his care. Mr Steer had been the full time carer for his youngest daughter Stacey, who has learning and physical difficulties. Although she was over the age of 18 she still required support. Due to the care that she needed and her vulnerability, Sharon had to move into her father s home with her own family to help look after them both. Dushal had to consider a number of complex legal and medical issues During his working life Mr Steer had, for a period of over 2 years, worked as a lagger for Rex Covering Company Limited (also known as Rex Insulation). He worked for the company after he left school in the late 1950s. During this time, he was exposed to substantial quantities of asbestos without having been provided with a protective mask. He was working with asbestos all day and could not recall any other time that he was exposed during his working life. As Rex Covering was a dissolved company, we had to locate the employers liability insurers during the time that Mr Steer worked for the company to pursue a claim. This was a difficult task as all of our usual searches failed to identify the insurers. However, Field Fisher Waterhouse had previously (over 20 years ago) obtained details of their insurers. We had in our archives, a fax confirmation sheet from insurance brokers confirming the identity of the insurers for a period of 10 months during which time Mr Steer was working for the company. We notified the insurers however, for over a year, they disputed the evidence we provided and refused to accept that they were the insurers on risk despite previously having paid out in a case we brought years ago. They relied on the fact that we did not have the policy number which was the only evidence they would accept. As a result, Dushal had to restore the dissolved company to the Companies Register to reinstate the company so that court proceedings could be brought against them. We were satisfied that the insurers had been identified with the information we had. Only after the company had been restored to the register did the insurers finally accept that they were the relevant insurers during the time we alleged. The rest of his employment with Rex was uninsured.
7 Freephone Thereafter medical and engineering evidence was obtained which clearly showed that the exposure Mr Steer had with the company had made a material contribution to the development of his lung cancer (not withstanding the fact that he had been a smoker during his life). The Defendants then tried to rely on a number of unique features of the case to distinguish and question the validity of the expert evidence obtained. They argued that epidemiological evidence was necessary which looked at mathematical statistics as to the relative risk of lung cancer and argued that this had decreased over the time that had passed between the exposure and the development of the lung cancer. They suggested that as Mr Steer smoked after his exposure had occured, it was the smoking, not the asbestos, that had caused the cancer. Sharon claimed damages for her father having the illness and also made a separate claim for her sister, Stacey, as a dependent. Dushal obtained expert nursing evidence on the care that her father provided to his daughter Stacey and also the care he received during the course of his illness. Stacey was also assessed by an expert to see if she had capacity to manager her affairs. Dushal was able to recover substantial damages for the estate and also for Stacey. Her money is now held in court for her benefit. Dushal was always there for me throughout the duration of the claim. He provided me with lots of encouragement and thanks to his determination and support we were able to secure a very positive settlement. The money will go towards providing much needed care for my sister. 7 Sharon Goggin Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
8 90,000 compensation for former steel fixer Thank you for all the tireless work you have done for me, and the respect you have shown me and my family Mr Johnson was exposed to asbestos as a steel fixer working in a factory in the 1960s. He was exposed for just over a week while working for E W Tyler Concrete Products Limited ( Tylers ) in Tonbridge, Kent and briefly at Marley Tile Company Limited. The majority of his exposure came when working for Perryman (Tonbridge) Limited between 1963 and For the rest of his working life he worked as a self employed painter and decorator. Some 50 years after this exposure Mr Johnson developed mesothelioma. He instructed Andrew Morgan to make a claim for compensation. No claim was made against Perryman s because they had gone out of business and their insurer could not be found. Andrew advised against pursuing a claim against Marleys because the exposure there was very light in comparison. Tylers went out of business many years ago but, with some effort, Andrew was able to identify and make a claim against their insurers. As a result the claim was pursued solely against E W Tyler Concrete Products Limited. Andrew called upon our archives of documents going back to the late 19th Century to prove Mr Johnson s case. Mr Johnson worked for Tylers for about five years, from the mid 1950s until 1962/63. The factory suffered from problems with condensation in the roof space as a result of which, in 1960, the employers had the roof insulated with sprayed asbestos material. Mr Johnson and his colleagues continued to work in the factory while the spraying was carried out and suffered substantial exposure as a result. The Defendants denied liability throughout. They obtained evidence from Mr Johnson s supervisor that Mr Johnson and his colleagues would have been removed from the factory whilst the spraying took place but at a preliminary hearing the Court rejected that evidence and accepted what Mr Johnson said, that he and his colleagues continued to work as the asbestos material fell down around them. Despite this the defendants continued their defence, arguing that the employer had done nothing wrong when measured by the standards of the early 1960s. Andrew called upon our own archives to compile several hundred pages of witness statements and documents going back to the late 19th century to prove what a reasonable employer in 1960 should have known about the dangers of this level of exposure. He also instructed a consulting engineer to prepare an expert report. Andrew arranged for Mr Johnson to give his evidence on commission at home because he was too poorly, as a result of his illness, to travel to London to give evidence at Court. Six weeks before trial, Andrew negotiated a settlement of 90,000 which Mr Johnson was happy to accept.
9 Freephone You never gave up and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I am now at a stage in my life where I do not have to worry too much about my future, and can enjoy the rest of my life 9 Mr Johnson Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
10 Succesful claim against Turner & Newalls and PW Mann Engineering Dushal Mehta acted for Betty Johnston following her husband s diagnosis and subsequent death due to mesothelioma. Brian Johnston instructed Dushal to pursue his claim after his diagnosis was made at the Royal Cornwall hospital. He recalled being exposed to asbestos whilst working for Goddard and Staines, however the company had dissolved and it was not possible to identify the insurers. Brian had also visited and carried out some work at the Turner & Newalls factory in Manchester and recalled working in a room one afternoon which was covered in asbestos dust. Finally, Brian had also worked for a sheet metal company, P W Mann Engineering between 1988 and 1993 during which time he was required to cut into the side of buildings whilst fitting heating systems. He remembered being advised by the Dushal settled the case avoiding the need for a 5 day trial. engineers on site and others that asbestolux was not a hazardous material and it was safe to work with. He was not given any protective clothing or masks despite the risks and dangers being well known by the late 1980s and early 1990s. Brian instructed Dushal to bring a claim against the company, P W Mann Engineering. The engineer and owner of the company alleged that Brian would hardly ever have been sent out on site, would not have been asked to cut into side of buildings and even if he was he would not have encountered asbestolux or been advised that it was safe. We managed to obtain a number of witness statements from previous work colleagues to support Brian s claim and the case was set down for a 5 day trial in the High Court. Despite the company maintaining that they were not responsible for Brian s condition and subsequent death they did make an offer in settlement of the case. By then, Brian had unfortunately died and his widow, Betty had also been diagnosed with an illness of her own. Betty wished to accept the offer that was made and in addition, Dushal managed to secure further compensation for Betty from the Turner & Newalls Trust for the exposure Brian encountered in their factory. Over the course of the claim, Dushal showed me a great deal of respect and courtesy. He gave me a very personal and professional service and was always available when I needed to speak to him. Betty Johnston Taylor Wimpey held to account over carpenters death from mesothelioma Bernard Toms worked for Taylor Woodrow as a carpenter and joiner in the 1950s and 1960s. He was exposed to asbestos whilst carrying out work in boiler rooms helping to build blocks of flats. The company were later to split Taylor Woodrow Construction were subsequently dissolved and could not pay compensation but another part of the company became the multimillion pound house builder Taylor Wimpey plc. Bernard contracted mesothelioma from his exposure with the company and tragically died leaving his wife, Diana, and daughter Nikki. Peter Williams recovered 237,000 for the victims disabled wife Peter Williams acted for the family against Taylor Wimpey Plc. They denied they were responsible and sought to blame the other company which had no money to pay. Following contested proceedings involving a Court Hearing at Bernard s home, Peter was able to prove that Taylor Wimpey Plc were liable to pay. Shortly before a Hearing in the High Court compensation was agreed in the sum of 237,000, the bulk of which is to be used to fund a care regime for Diana, who is disabled. Peter was very efficient and dedicated and through his years of experience and perseverance was able to successfully claim against the company who could pay which will help my mum to afford the care that she needs. Tom s daughter Nikki
11 Freephone Meet the team The commitment to serving clients regardless of their circumstances or ability to travel to attend conferences is widely noted and appreciated. Legal Peter Williams Head of Asbestos Team Andrew Morgan Partner Peter is head of the group. He has specialised in asbestos related disease claims for nearly 20 years and he gives annual talks to solicitors on the issues. The legal 500 recommends him as a leading personal injury lawyer who is universally respected, and superb with clients. Andrew has specialised in asbestos disease claims since He is a past coordinator of the Occupational Health Group of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is an APIL fellow. He advises the Parliamentary Sub-committee on asbestos. He writes and gives talks regularly about asbestos claims. Caroline Pinfold Partner Dushal Mehta Solicitor Caroline has specialised in asbestos disease claims for over 25 years. She is a Trustee of the East London Mesothelioma Support Group ( ELMS). She is a member of Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Chambers, a leading legal directory states she is incredibly hard working, has an eye for detail and fights very hard for her clients. Dushal specialises in asbestos disease cases, with specific expertise in mesothelioma claims. He joined the firm in 2009 and is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. He has developed a reputation for securing early settlements in high profile cases. The head and shoulders above the rest in terms of skills, experience and quality. Legal 500 Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
12 Freephone Vine Street, London, EC3N 2PX Ibex House, The Minories, London, EC3N 1HP Postal address: PO Box 732, London, EC3N 2AA Caring for our clients Commitment to our cases Cutting edge expertise
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