The 67 year old client had worked for George Wimpey & Company, C Bryant & Son and Birmingham City Council between 1962 and 1971. He had worked for each of the three companies on the build of high rise flats constructing ducting for heating pipes. The ducts were lined with asbestos board, which the client cut to size using a handsaw or an electric saw. The client also worked in the vicinity of plumbers mixing up asbestos lagging and applying it to pipework. The client was further exposed to asbestos whilst working on the build of domestic properties when cutting asbestos boards to form soffits, cupboard linings and garage roofs.
As well as the client’s evidence of asbestos exposure, further witness evidence was obtained from the client’s brother who worked with him whilst employed by George Wimpey and C Bryant & Son.
Medical evidence was obtained to support a diagnosis of asbestosis. The medical expert concluded that the client was suffering a total respiratory disability of 10%, 5% due to the asbestosis and the remaining 5% due to emphysema. He also concluded that the client had a 5% risk of contracting asbestos related diffuse pleural thickening, a 4% risk of contracting mesothelioma and a 1% risk of contracting lung cancer.
With no admission of liability from any of the defendant companies, court proceedings were issued against all three of them. Issuing the claim against C Bryant & Son was complicated by the fact that the company was in compulsory liquidation. It was necessary to seek a deferment of the company’s liquidation from the Secretary of State beforehand.
In the absence of any evidence to defend the claim, judgement on the issue of breach of duty was promptly entered against each of the three defendant companies. The defendant companies were granted the court’s permission to obtain their own medical evidence and thereafter both experts prepared a joint statement. The statement confirmed that the only area of disagreement in the claim was in respect of the client’s life expectancy, which was relevant in calculating the risk of future financial loss in the event that the client developed mesothelioma or lung cancer in the future.
A settlement was eventually agreed with the defendant companies three weeks before trial. £27,000 was obtained for the client in full and final settlement of his claim.