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Written by Laura Magson

Laura acted for Richard who was diagnosed with mesothelioma at 81 years old. Richard experienced symptoms of breathlessness in the autumn of 2019 and he underwent a CT scan which suggested malignant disease. He subsequently underwent a thoracoscopy which confirmed mesothelioma. Richard was very fit and well and had been playing golf until the onset of his mesothelioma. He had a thymectomy in 2009 but he had recovered well. He began receiving chemotherapy which had some side effects and so unfortunately the treatment was suspended.

He was given a diagnosis of mesothelioma on Christmas Eve by the Royal Marsden Hospital. The news of Richard’s diagnosis was of course very difficult for Richard and his wife to come to terms with. It was frustrating for Richard that he was not able to do all of the things that he has been able to do previously. He was the main chef in the house and he and his wife both shared the gardening, cleaning and supermarket shopping. He was used to doing all of the DIY around the house and looking after his grandchildren prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Laboratory Technician

Richard worked as a laboratory technician throughout his life. Richard had a number of employers throughout his career, some of which involved contact with asbestos. He worked firstly for a glass bottle manufacturer for two or three years in the 1950s where he cut and used asbestos string and rope. He also used asbestos gloves and asbestos gauze tripods.

He then worked as chemical support in high tech engineering companies; the first of which was in the 1960s and 1970s. He worked on a roller plating machine which was sealed with asbestos. He also worked on a press with high pressure and steam heated pipework, again the pipework was lagged with asbestos. He used a compressed air line several times a day to blow away any dust that had accumulated on the press. He continued to use asbestos mats in the laboratory without warning or protection.

He then worked for a second company again as a laboratory technician in the 1970s and 1980s where he operated a “degreaser”. Richard believed that the pipework to the degreaser with lagged with asbestos and that he again used a compressed airline to blow asbestos dust away from the equipment.

Laura obtained supportive Witness Statements from Richard’s former colleagues. A medical report was obtained to support Richard’s diagnosis so that court proceedings could be issued and the court documents were prepared as no admissions of liability were forthcoming from the potential defendants. Laura put forward an offer on behalf of Richard in settlement of his claim, but the insurers were unresponsive.

In mesothelioma cases, we only need to prove negligent exposure to asbestos against one employer and that that exposure contributed to the development of mesothelioma to gain the full amount of compensation.

Just before Laura was about to issue court proceedings at the High Court so that she could push for an interim payment of £50,000 for Richard and an expedited trial if necessary, the insurers for the first high tech engineering company made a counter offer at full value which Richard was very happy to accept to put the case behind him and without the need to issue legal proceedings.

Richard said: 

"Thank you once again for your efficient and sensitive handling in dealing with this matter for us"

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease please contact our specialised mesothelioma and asbestos disease team by email on