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Written on 7th December 2023 by Laura Magson


Laura acted for Leonard* settling the case within five months of first instruction following his diagnosis of mesothelioma. Leonard worked for Thames Valley Waterboard and then Thames Water Authority from the late 1960s to the early 1970s where he undertook his apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery between 1967 and November 1971. He then carried on working with Thames Water as a fully qualified joiner for another three years. His work involved temporary pumping stations which were like large sheds made out of timber. He and the other carpenters were building the frames in a workshop which were then delivered to site where they were erected. He lined the buildings with asbestos to make them fireproof, cutting them in the workshop by hand saw. He also swept up asbestos debris at the end of the day and put the debris in a box.


Leonard began experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma in April 2023 with breathlessness and he attended hospital as an emergency. Fluid from the lining of the lungs was syringed and he was informed of the devastating diagnosis of mesothelioma, spending five days in hospital. He commenced dual immunotherapy treatment (Ipilimumab and Nivolumab) and despite having no reaction to it, continued with this for some weeks before it was discontinued due to tumour progression and side effects.


The case was progressed against Thames Water Utilities Limited whom initially raised succession issues, but then later simply confirmed that an interim payment would be made and breach of duty was admitted in September. Leonard instructed Laura at Boyes Turner because of the close proximity to Thames Water which is still based today on the Thames between Reading and Caversham.

Leonard did all of the gardening and DIY, but also did all of the driving for his wife which he is now no longer able to do. Supporting documents including a Schedule of Loss (a document that sets out Leonard’s best financial case) was served and the Defendants made a formal offer of £212,500 gross which Laura advised was not enough given driving was an expensive service that would need to be replaced. Negotiations ensued and the defendants offered

£230,000 which Leonard accepted from his hospital bed.

Leonard said:

It is galling to know that a job that I did many years ago when I was a carpenter has caused me to develop asbestos-related cancer many decades later. After I left Thames Water, I went into scaffolding and was an estimator/surveyor for the remainder of my career, essentially office based. I have had no major illnesses in the past and was completely fit and well at the time of my diagnosis. However, I now have peace of mind, the legal case is behind me and I can enjoy the time I have left with my family knowing that my wife will be taken care of, financially.

* Name has been changed for anonymity.

For more information about how the mesothelioma and asbestos disease claims team can help you or your loved ones after a diagnosis of an asbestos related disease, please contact the team by email on or by telephone on 0118 952 7199.