Boyes Turner’s specialist industrial disease team were instructed by Mr U who developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos during his employment with Lee Beesley and Company Limited (now known as Lee Beesley (Coventry) Limited).
Mr U was exposed to asbestos fibres when he was employed as an apprentice electrician and subsequently as a qualified electrician by Lee Beesley (Coventry) Limited between 1964 and 1970. Mr U worked in many different locations when he was employed by Lee Beesley (Coventry) Limited but most of his time was spent working in car factories. Lee Beesley (Coventry) Limited had contracts with most of the major car factories in the area, including Standard Motors, Peugeot, British Leyland, Jaguar, Lucas and Chrysler.
Mr U was keen to do as much overtime as possible and he regularly worked seven days a week, including weekends, as the work that he had to do in the car factories needed to be completed whilst the car workers were absent.
Mr U went on site where he worked, namely indoors, to remove old wiring and install new wiring, lighting and control boards. Stripping work was carried out under time pressure and without any attempt to minimise the release of dust. Many of the premises in which Mr U worked contained asbestos, and Mr U was exposed to visible clouds of dust containing asbestos when he ripped out old wiring. Mr U and other tradesmen working alongside him, frequently disturbed old asbestos lagging, causing asbestos fibres to be released into the atmosphere where they were inhaled by Mr U. Mr U was present when asbestos lagged pipe work and materials containing asbestos were ripped out and discarded on the floor whereby he was further exposed to asbestos fibres. In order to install new cabling, lighting and control boards, Mr U drilled into boards, walls and ceilings which contained asbestos, releasing asbestos fibres which he inhaled. Most of the work which Mr U undertook was carried out above head height which meant that asbestos fibres fell down directly onto his head and face. During the working day Mr U’s clothes, hair and skin became covered in dust containing asbestos.
Some years after his retirement, Mr U fell ill and was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an aggressive, treatment-resistant cancer which is caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.
Witness statements were obtained to support the claim and expert medical evidence was obtained.
Sadly Mr U died from mesothelioma before his claim could be concluded. Mr U’s widow continued the claim on behalf of Mr U’s estate and dependents.
Proceedings were commenced in the High Court.
The defendant served a defence to the Court proceedings. The defence required Mr U’s widow to prove breach of duty on the part of the defendant and to prove that Mr U’s exposure to asbestos in the course of his employment with Lee Beesley (Coventry) Limited materially increased the risk that he might contract mesothelioma and to prove the diagnosis of mesothelioma.
In November 2015 settlement of the claim was agreed in the sum of £250,000 inclusive.