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Laura Magson senior associate - solicitor, acted for Michael * who moved to Cyprus when he retired in June 2006. Michael started to experience symptoms of pain in June 2014 and he was admitted to Pathos General Hospital in Cyprus for investigation of a pleural effusion. Fluid was drained from his lungs and a bronchoscopy was performed which revealed no abnormalities. An examination of the fluid that was taken also revealed no evidence of malignancy. Further pleural fluids were taken and this showed a suspicious malignancy, possibly mesothelioma (asbestos related cancer) or metatastic adenocarcinoma. 

Medical Complications

Michael was then transferred to Nicosia General Hospital. His breathlessness was unfortunately continuing. It was really important to try and get to the bottom of his diagnosis and the biopsy was also examined histologically. The appearances were most consistent with mesothelioma. 

However, Michael continued to deteriorate and he was readmitted to Pathos General Hospital in August 2014 from an emergency clinic, complaining of abdominal pain and vomiting. Very sadly, he was quickly diagnosed with a perforated bowel and peritonitis. He was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, but suffered a cardiac arrest and died on 30 August 2014.

J G Robinson & Sons Limited

We were instructed by Michael’s family. Michael was not able to give a statement before he died, but he telephoned his son and told him how he had been exposed to asbestos. He was employed by J G Robinson & Sons Limited of Eastbourne from the early 1960s until 1972 as a carpenter. He removed old fireproofing from boiler rooms, boiler houses and ceilings.  Most of the fireproofing was in the form of asbestos sheeting, cladding or lagging. He pulled the asbestos sheeting, cladding or lagging which created a great deal of dust in his breathing zone. He also sawed, trimmed and fitted asbestos sheets to sheds and temporary buildings. He did not wear a mask and there were no warnings of the dangers of asbestos. 

Successful Claim

Although J G Robinson & Sons Limited was dissolved, we traced the employers’ liability insurers for the company. The insurers were notified, but they denied liability, arguing that Michael may not have been suffering from mesothelioma during lifetime (on account of the adenocarcinoma raised as a possibility). We obtained a supportive medical report which showed that although Michael died from an unrelated asbestos condition, he had been suffering from mesothelioma. Very sadly Michael died as a result of multiple organ failure with septicaemia due to the perforated colon. His death occurred within two days of the perforation. If he had not died from the colon problems, our expert predicted that he would have lived for another 6-9 months. If he had not suffered with mesothelioma or the perforated colon, his life expectancy was over 17 years. 

The defendants still refused to admit liability so I began the process of restoring J G Robinson & Sons Limited to the Company Register so that proceedings could be issued against them. I made a formal offer to the defendants and they accepted our offer of £50,000 gross.

Whilst the family will never get over the loss of their father and the traumatic decline in Michael’s condition, they are grateful that the defendants have in some way acknowledged that they were at fault and are delighted with the settlement. 

* Client’s name changed for confidentiality