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Written on 6th July 2021 by

Boyes Turner’s expert mesothelioma and asbestos claims solicitors were instructed by Peter, a former site engineer, following his diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Medical History

Peter had a complex medical history leading to his diagnosis of mesothelioma.  We were instructed in February 2018, by which time Peter had already been suffering with symptoms attributable to his mesothelioma since October 2013. 

He was initially told he was likely suffering from pneumonia in December 2013 and had a biopsy which suggested he was just suffering with inflammation.  He continued throughout 2014 and 2015 to suffer with recurring chest infections for which he was treated with steroids and antibiotics and discharged from hospital.

By December 2015 he had been in and out of hospital on numerous occasions and a further biopsy was taken.  It was only at this stage that there was an indication that he could possibly have a diagnosis of mesothelioma, which was later confirmed in February 2016. 

He then underwent radical surgery with an extra pleural pneumonectomy (“EPP”).  He underwent six rounds of chemotherapy ahead of his EPP.  He then had radiotherapy following his surgery and then further chemotherapy. 

Peter investigated many different trials in an effort to extend his life and took part in the PROMISE MESO trial, but unfortunately suffered ill effects from the treatment and was withdrawn.

Peter’s condition sadly deteriorated and he was suitable for palliative only care in the latter stages of 2018.  In the last few months of his life Peter was admitted to a hospital for pain management and symptom control and sadly passed away in June 2019 as a result of his mesothelioma.

Peter’s Exposure to Asbestos

Peter was employed as a Site Engineer.  He could only recall one incident on site when active construction work was being undertaken in his presence and where asbestos dust was present.  The work that was undertaken involved taking down old partitions and ceilings, taking up carpets and removing hard asbestos lagging from plant pipes and heating pipes around the property, to enable the heating system to be moved to fit with a new partitioned layout. 

Peter described exposure to asbestos dust when the hard asbestos lagging was removed from the pipe.  He worked in close proximity to the contractors and described it as very dusty work.

Defendant Denied Liability

Early notification of Peter’s claim was made to Farrow Group Limited (his former employer) following our instruction.  However, Farrow Group Limited vigorously denied liability.

Peter’s claim was complicated by the fact that he had symptoms attributable to his mesothelioma since 2013, despite not having been given a formal diagnosis until February 2016. 

Farrow Group maintained their denial of liability and therefore in order to progress Peter’s claim as swiftly as possible, Court proceedings were issued in the High Court in the specialist Asbestos List. 

In their Defence, Farrow Group pleaded that Peter’s claim was statute barred and that the description of asbestos lagging could also have been of a non-asbestos alternative.  They denied that Peter was likely to have been exposed to asbestos dust, or that any such exposure would have been at a level to have caused or given rise to a foreseeable risk of injury.

They continued to vigorously deny Peter’s case and expert engineering evidence was obtained by them regarding his exposure to asbestos dust, which did not support Peter’s claim. 

We obtained evidence from an expert engineer who confirmed that Peter’s description of the pipe lagging was consistent with the description of asbestos based lagging and not a non-asbestos alternative. 

However, one day before service of the expert evidence was due, Farrow Group conceded breach of duty subject to quantum.  The admission of liability came just days before Peter sadly passed away.  However, we were able to confirm to Peter that his claim would be successful and this was of significant comfort to him in his final days. 

Peter’s Income

Extensive expert evidence was obtained in relation to Peter’s earnings.  Peter was still employed at the time of his diagnosis as he was below retirement age and he suffered a loss of earnings.  He also received care through his private medical insurance policy and a subrogated claim was included on their behalf.

Following Peter’s death his claim proceeded on behalf of his Estate.  Peter left behind a widow and two young children, the oldest of which has now started university.  Peter’s claim settled for over £1,000,000 less than four weeks before trial. 

Although liability had been admitted by Farrow Group shortly before Peter’s death, they continued to raise objections to the values of Peter’s claim, including the impact Covid-19 would have had on his income.  Peter’s employer at the time of his death had furloughed a number of employees and the Defendant used this to support their position that Peter’s income and bonus payments would have been effected by Covid-19.

Despite the complications of Covid-19 and the potential impact on Peter’s income, we successfully negotiated an £80,000 increase on the Defendant’s original offer to settle and the claim was settled for over £1,000,000. 

We were pleased to have reached such a significant settlement on behalf of Peter’s family and take comfort in the fact that Peter was aware that his family would be provided for prior to his death.