Leading personal injury and medical negligence solicitors
Turner & Newall were a leading manufacturer of asbestos products. They were based in Manchester but operated all over the country.
The manufacture and use of asbestos products is now banned in the UK. Turner & Newall went into administration in 2001 but their use of asbestos has left a very sad legacy. Former workers and their families have contracted asbestos-related diseases, as have others who lived in close proximity to Turner & Newall factories. In many cases, the disease is terminal.
Turner & Newall concealed the dangers of asbestos
The danger to Turner & Newall workers was apparent as early as 1924, after the death of Nellie Kershaw, a worker at their Rochdale factory. At the inquest into her death, Dr William Edmund Cooke testified that his examination of the lungs showed extensive fibrosis in which were visible "particles of mineral matter... of various shapes, but the large majority have sharp angles”. Cooke concluded that they "originated from asbestos and were, beyond a reasonable doubt, the primary cause of the fibrosis of the lungs and therefore of death".
Despite this, the company denied liability and refused to pay any compensation to her family. Although Turner & Newall were aware of the dangers, they continued to manufacture and use asbestos products into the 1990s.
Over the years, the lengths the company went to in order to conceal the dangers of asbestos are shocking. In 1955, an academic named Richard Doll completed an epidemiological study in Rochdale, home of the factory where Nellie Kershaw worked. This established a link between asbestos exposure and lung cancer. After trying to prevent him from publishing the findings, Turner & Newall then persuaded its own scientist, Dr John Knox, to draft a paper discrediting Doll’s work.
They were also assisted by Cyril Smith, the Rochdale MP. In 1981, he wrote to Sydney Marks, head of personnel at Turner & Newall, informing him that the House of Commons were to debate European regulations on asbestos and asking him what he would like him to say in the debate. The draft sent to him by Turner & Newall is almost identical to the speech delivered by Smith, which argued that there should be less regulation and that the public were not at risk.
The company went into administration in 2001. Does this mean that former Turner & Newall workers and other people affected by Turner & Newall’s practises are unable to claim compensation if they are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease?
The Turner & Newall scheme
A trust fund has been set up to process and pay all valid asbestos disease claims for which Turner & Newall companies have legal responsibility. This means that, if you have an asbestos-related disease as a result of being exposed to asbestos by a Turner & Newall company, you may be eligible to claim compensation through the Turner & Newall scheme.
The process is different from asbestos disease claims against other companies, however, Boyes Turner’s specialist asbestos disease lawyers have extensive experience of dealing with such claims and can guide you through the application process. We have made claims on behalf of people who worked for various Turner & Newall companies, including:
- Turner’s Asbestos Cement Company Limited
- Turner Brothers Asbestos Company Limited
- Newalls Insulation Company Limited
- Newalls Insulation & Chemical Company Limited
- Coopers Mechanical Joints Limited
- Federal – Mogul Sealing Systems Limited
- Ferodo Limited
- TAC Construction Materials Limited
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we may be able to help. Contact us on 0800 884 0718 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free initial discussion.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to conduct their work in such a way that their employees will not be exposed to health and safety risks. They must also provide information about their workplace which might affect their health and safety. A key element of this duty is to ensure that any asbestos-containing materials in the workplace are managed effectively so that they do not put the safety of employees at risk.
Why do employers need to manage asbestos?
Asbestos use in the construction and refurbishment of buildings is now illegal in the UK. However, it was extensively used in the 20th century and, as a result, any buildings built before 2000 may still contain asbestos.
If asbestos is disturbed or damaged, releasing fibres into the air, these fibres may be inhaled, leading to asbestos-related diseases, including:
Workers who carry out building maintenance and repair are particularly at risk.
Past exposure to asbestos currently kills around 4500 people a year, so it is crucial that employers protect their employees from the risk of these life-threatening diseases by ensuring that any asbestos in the workplace is managed properly.
What do employers need to do?
The duty to manage asbestos is detailed in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Employers need to manage the risks by:
- Finding out if there is asbestos in the premises and, if so, its location and condition
- Maintaining an up-to-date record of the location and condition of any asbestos-containing materials on the premises
- Assessing the risk from the material
- Preparing a plan to manage the risk from the material
- Taking steps needed to put the plan into action
- Reviewing and monitoring the plan and the arrangements made to put it in place
- Setting up a system for reporting on the location and the material to anyone who might work on it or disturb it
What should happen if there is asbestos in the building that represents a risk to employees?
Depending on its condition, some damaged asbestos can be dealt with by repairing it and either sealing it or enclosing it to prevent further damage. Once it has been dealt with, the area must be marked, and it must be included in the employer’s record of asbestos locations.
If the asbestos cannot easily be repaired and protected, it will need to be removed. The work must be carried out by someone trained and competent to carry out the task, usually an HSE licensed contractor.
What should happen if the asbestos in the building does not represent a risk?
If any asbestos-containing materials in the building are in good condition and the employer decides that it is safe to leave it in place, they must keep a record of the location and the condition it is in and ensure that this is kept up to date.
They must also ensure that everyone who needs to know about the asbestos is told about its presence. It is good practice to label the asbestos-containing materials with an asbestos warning sign.
Thereafter, it is important to continue to manage the risks from asbestos left in the building. Employers must regularly reinspect any asbestos-containing materials on the premises and keep their records up to date. They must also regularly check that the arrangements they have put in place to control the risks are working effectively.
Detailed information can be found on the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/duty.htm
Boyes Turner’s asbestos-related disease team are specialists in recovering compensation for individuals and bereaved families affected by mesothelioma, lung cancer and other diseases caused by exposure to asbestos.
We often get asked about asbestos-related lung cancer, what it is, can they claim even though they smoked? Because of this, we have tried to answer some of our most commonly asked questions!
Q. What is asbestos-related lung cancer?
Apart from mesothelioma, there is no particular type of lung cancer which is exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos dust. Both non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer can be caused by exposure to asbestos dust.
Q. Can I succeed with a claim for asbestos-related lung cancer even though I smoked?
Even if you were a smoker, it is possible that asbestos exposure has contributed to your lung cancer. This is because of the risk of developing lung cancer increases in direct proportion to the level of your exposure to asbestos dust.
There is no clinical means of distinguishing between lung cancer caused by asbestos and lung cancer caused by smoking. However, there is clear evidence that if you have smoked and been exposed to asbestos dust your risk of lung cancer is significantly increased.
Q. Do I need to have asbestosis to have asbestos-related lung cancer?
The presence of other asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, asbestos-related pleural plaques or asbestos-related diffuse pleural thickening can indicate that the lung cancer has been caused by exposure to asbestos dust.
Historically, it was presumed that lung cancer could not be caused by asbestos exposure unless asbestosis was also present. However, research has confirmed that asbestos-related lung cancer can occur without the presence of asbestosis.
Q. Is there a minimum level of exposure to asbestos dust before asbestos-related lung cancer can be diagnosed?
Whether or not your lung cancer can be attributed to asbestos exposure will also depend upon the level of your exposure to asbestos dust. In order to pursue a claim for compensation for asbestos-related lung cancer you must be able to show very heavy exposure to asbestos dust for a short period of time, or moderate exposure to asbestos dust for a long period of time.
Q. How much compensation will I receive for asbestos-related lung cancer?
The amount of compensation awarded for asbestos-related lung cancer will depend upon the individual circumstances of the case. However, general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity are generally awarded at between £61,410 and £85,340 (JC Guidelines July 2018). On top of this, a claim can also be made for care and assistance, travel, loss of income and any other losses that have been incurred as a result of the lung cancer.
You should bear in mind that if you have also been a smoker, there may be a deduction to your compensation to reflect the fact that your smoking has also contributed to the lung cancer.
If you would like to talk to one of our specialist solicitors about the possibility of bringing a claim, with no obligations to take matters further then email the team at email@example.com.
Asbestos-related diseases cause the deaths of around 5000 workers each year – more than the number of people killed on the road. 20 tradesmen die each week as a result of past asbestos exposure.
Homes built after the mid-1980s are unlikely to contain asbestos, but homes that are more than 20 years old are likely to contain some materials made from asbestos. That might sound alarming, but as long as the asbestos is in good condition - not flaking, damaged or broken - and is located somewhere out of reach where it can’t be easily damaged, then it shouldn’t be a risk. However, asbestos-containing materials can become dangerous if they are damaged or broken, releasing fibres and dust into the air. Airborne asbestos fibres don’t smell and they can’t be seen but, when inhaled, the spiky asbestos fibres can lodge in the tissue of the lungs, causing irritation and potential sites for cancerous growths. The effects of asbestos-exposure take many years, usually decades, to develop into diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.
Twenty years on from the asbestos ban in 1999, the total impact of exposure to asbestos in previous decades is still being determined. The number of diagnoses relating to occupational (work-related) asbestos exposure is expected to peak before the cases finally being to reduce in number, but the predicted timing of the peak keeps shifting as the steady stream of asbestos-related diagnoses continues, coupled with what appears to be a new wave of diagnoses, perhaps relating to DIY and exposure in the home. We expect it to be several years before the full impact of asbestos-related harm is known.
Common asbestos-containing materials include:
This was widely used as a cladding material and can still be found in domestic garages and sheds and around the home. It is also found in guttering, downpipes, corrugated sheets, wall panels, bath panels, flue pipes, cold water tanks, roofing tiles and soffit boards.
AIB was used for fire protection panelling to cupboards and doors, ceiling tiles, partition walls and soffit boards.
This was mostly used to insulate pipes and boilers. It is rarely found in residential properties, especially those built after the mid-1970s.
This was used to protect structural steel from fire, so it is rarely found in homes but can sometimes be present in communal areas of flats.
- Other materials include some decorative coatings (such as Artex, textured paints and plasters), plastic floor tiles, paper backed floor lino, toilet cisterns, some bitumen products, electrical linings and within some heating systems. These are generally considered lower risk products and are much less likely to release fibres.
What should I do if I think there is asbestos in my home?
If you think you have asbestos in your home you must leave any suspect materials alone. In particular, do not saw, drill or disturb these materials. Generally, as long as such materials are in good condition they are not harmful but if you are unsure whether a material contains asbestos or whether it can be left in place safely, then seek advice from a specialist contractor or your local council. You can also find further information about asbestos from the HSE website
What should I do if I think I have an asbestos-related condition?
If you have been exposed to asbestos at work or at home, then you should speak to your GP for advice. If you are found to be suffering from an asbestos-related disease, such as pleural thickening, asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma, Boyes Turner’s specialist mesothelioma and asbestos claims solicitors can offer supportive, experienced legal advice.
Email Melloney on firstname.lastname@example.org and she will discuss with you the best course of action to achieve the best and quickest settlement of your claim.
Annabelle qualified as a solicitor in September 2009 and joined Boyes Turner’s mesothelioma and asbestos claims team in December 2009. Annabelle represents claimants who have developed an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening.
“Annabelle is held in great esteem by our family for all she has done for us throughout this traumatic time in our lives. Our thanks to her will never be enough.”
Who can bring an asbestos claim?
Anyone who has received a diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis or pleural thickening should look into making a claim for compensation. There is a long latency period from the time of exposure to asbestos dust to the time of diagnosis of an asbestos disease, which can be anywhere from 10-50 years.
Why should I instruct a specialist firm of solicitors?
Mesothelioma and asbestos-disease claims are complex and often require immediate, skilled attention, owing to the life-limiting nature of these conditions. As specialist mesothelioma and asbestos claims solicitors, Boyes Turner’s industrial disease team are highly experienced in dealing with these types of claim and the defendant representatives. We use our expertise to ensure that the claim is progressed swiftly and sensitively, sparing our clients and their families unnecessary delay in receiving their compensation.
Am I entitled to any benefits?
There are a number of benefits which you may be entitled to receive following a diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. These include Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 lump sum payments, Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme 2008 lump sum payments, Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme 2014 lump sum payments, attendance allowance, war veterans’ pension and constant attendance allowance. We can assist you in making applications for benefits which can help with the cost of treatment and any care which you may require.
How long will a claim take?
The length of each claim will vary and can largely depend upon the position taken by the defendants and whether or not they decide to defend the claim. We act quickly and proactively to minimise the duration of any compensation claim. We work with the asbestos masters and the asbestos and mesothelioma claims procedure in the High Court to ensure the swift progression of all our claims. We regularly achieve lifetime settlements, sometimes within six weeks from instruction, and we have secured interim payments of £50,000 within two weeks of receiving instructions to alleviate our clients’ financial hardship whilst the full value of the claim is investigated. Take a look at some of the mesothelioma and asbestos disease claims which we have settled on behalf of our clients.
How much will it cost?
We provide an initial consultation free of charge. At that meeting we advise our clients fully about their options, and then we discuss and agree together how best to fund the claim. We offer Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs, also known as ‘no win, no fee’).
I have an asbestos-related disease. What should I do next?
Email Annabelle on email@example.com and she will discuss with you the best course of action to achieve the best and quickest settlement of your claim.
The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) was enacted in 2014 allowing mesothelioma victims to claim a lump sum payment from the Government where the negligent employer company or other organisation which caused the mesothelioma is no longer trading or its insurer cannot be traced; i.e. there is no defendant to pursue. Where armed forces veterans were exposed to asbestos before 1987 they are statute barred from pursuing a civil claim against the Ministry of Defence (MOD), leaving them also in a position of having no one to pursue.
Are veterans entitled to claim a payment from the DMPS?
The DMPS states that a mesothelioma victim is unable to claim a payment from the scheme where there is an entitlement to a payment from a MOD scheme such as the War Pensions Scheme (WPS).
So, what can veterans do?
On 16 December 2015 the MOD changed the rules of the WPS to allow mesothelioma victims to have the choice of receiving their WPS in regular, small payments (as in the original scheme) or as a one-off tax-free lump sum. The one-off tax-free lump sum was introduced to redress the imbalance between the WPS and the DMPS/civil compensation. The WPS was previously only paid as regular, small payments which ceased on the death of the mesothelioma victim. This meant that war veterans would often receive a fraction of what their civil counterparts would receive through the DMPS or a claim for compensation.
Does this mean that veterans will receive the same award as a civilian making a compensation claim?
In short, no. The WPS will pay £140,000 as a lump sum to mesothelioma victims making a claim. This means that in most cases the WPS payment is likely to under compensate mesothelioma victims. The amount is just below that paid for 75-year-olds under the DMPS.
What if someone has died from mesothelioma before a WPS claim has been made? Can their widows/dependents still claim?
In this situation a payment under the WPS will no longer be available. Instead, eligible widows and civil partners may apply for a War Widow’s Pension.
What if I have an asbestos-related disease other than mesothelioma?
The lump sum payment under the WPS is only available to those diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Who can help veterans make WPS applications?
Help is available for veterans from Mesothelioma UK who have a dedicated benefits advisor as a part of their armed forces service and work closely with Armed Forces UK. The Royal British Legion also provide help and support. Boyes Turner’s mesothelioma and asbestos claims team can help veterans with applications under the WPS.
If you or a family member are suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease, email us at IDclaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial conversation.
Over the past couple of months Johnson & Johnson, a company synonymous with baby skin care products, with tag lines such as “clinically proven to be as mild as water”, have come under significant scrutiny following a $117m award of compensation for mesothelioma, after it was revealed through trial documentation that Johnson’s talc baby powder contained asbestos.
The decision to award damages in this case was made by a jury in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The claim was made against the company Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc, together with Imerys Talc America Inc. According to reports, following consideration of confidential documentation from Johnsons’ company documents, the jury awarded the claimant $37m in compensation for his asbestos cancer mesothelioma. They also awarded $80m in punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded where compensation alone is seen to be inadequate and as a deterrent for any similar future practice by the company.
The case in question was Steven and Kendra Lanzo v Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc and Imerys Talc America Inc. The claimants were represented by American mesothelioma law firm, Kazan Law, who advocate for the rights of asbestos victims.
During the trial, confidential company documents were disclosed which revealed that the companies were aware that Johnson’s talc baby powder contained asbestos. Consequently, the jury found that Johnson & Johnson should stop selling Johnson’s talc baby powder and should replace the talc with cornstarch.
The documents showed that Johnson & Johnson were aware since the 1960s that the talc used in its baby powder contained asbestos and that it could cause cancer.
The talcum powder itself is not considered to be the cause of the mesothelioma, but the fact that it is contaminated with amphibole asbestos tremolite. Talcum powder and tremolite are substances created by the same geologic process, therefore, the materials are frequently found in the same areas.
The Johnson’s Baby UK website reassures its consumers that their baby powder does not contain asbestos. The website states, “Johnson’s® baby powder does not contain asbestos, a substance classified as cancer causing. The talc used in all our global production is carefully selected and processed to be asbestos free, which is confirmed by regular testing to confirm purity. Like all our products, Johnson’s baby powder contains only ingredients that have been fully evaluated by scientific and medical experts to ensure they are safe to use”.
The link between mesothelioma and talcum powder remains controversial and Johnson & Johnson are expected to appeal the decision. The company has previously come under scrutiny for links between ovarian cancer and talcum powder, although large studies such as the Nurses’ Health Study (2010) and the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Cohort (2014) have found no causal link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. However, these studies did not stop a jury in Missouri yesterday awarding $4.7 bn in damages to 22 women who alleged they had developed ovarian cancer after using their baby powder. Johnson & Johnson is set to appeal the decision.
Talcum powder is a controversial product and many midwives do not recommend the use of talcum powder, owing to the risk that it may be contributing to the growing number of children diagnosed with asthma.
We will watch out for further developments in the asbestos talcum powder cases and await with interest the outcome of any appeal and any further documentation which Johnson & Johnson may produce.
Whether or not talcum powder poses an asbestos risk and a risk of mesothelioma appears from, the evidence, to be uncertain. What is clear is that talc can be contaminated with tremolite as a consequence of the natural process of its creation but the company maintains its position that the talc used in these products is asbestos free.
What is certain is that the prolific use of asbestos in the past means that this is unlikely to be the last consumer product that we encounter which used to contain asbestos.
If you or a family member are suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease, email us at IDclaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial conversation.
On 13 June 2018, the High Court held an Asbestos Court Users Meeting. The meeting was chaired by Senior Master Fontaine with significant contributions from Master Davison, Master Eastman, Master McCloud, Master Thornett and Master Gidden.
Asbestos disease claims
When handling asbestos disease claims, we are fortunate to have dedicated Masters who oversee the swift progression of each and every case. Mesothelioma claims are prioritised and, using the dedicated asbestos list at the High Court, we are often able to progress them to trial within the lifetime of our mesothelioma clients.
Another way in which the High Court supports the needs of asbestos-related disease sufferers is by encouraging the parties’ legal representatives to make use of the ‘show cause’ procedure. By doing so, the court can identify swiftly those cases where liability is in dispute or where judgment on liability can be entered and the claim progressed quickly to an assessment of damages hearing.
The Masters highlighted their expectation that by the first case management conference both the claimant and defendant must know where they stand in relation to a show cause hearing. If there is a simple, short point in dispute then this can be dealt with at the first 30 minute hearing. More complicated issues will require a longer hearing at a later date and the claimant and defendant are expected to provide for this in their directions.
The Masters clarified that all asbestos cases (not only mesothelioma claims) are appropriate for the show cause procedure, recognising the importance of the swift progression of any claim where an asbestos disease has been diagnosed.
The Masters further demonstrated their commitment to the swift progress of these claims by confirming that, in the absence of compelling argument from any party for the need for cost budgeting, this is regarded as unnecessary in asbestos claims, given the potential for additional delay.
They emphasised the importance of the appointment of an expert mesothelioma and asbestos claims solicitor in these cases. Expert mesothelioma and asbestos claims solicitors understand the process and the procedure within the High Court for progressing asbestos disease claims. By instructing specialist experts and solicitors who follow these procedures, mesothelioma victims are more likely to be spared unnecessary delay in receiving their compensation.
The Boyes Turner team
Boyes Turner’s industrial disease team are experts in asbestos-related disease cases and have an outstanding record of securing high value, lifetime, and provisional damages settlements, often succeeding where other less experienced lawyers have been unable to act.
If you or a family member are suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease, contact is by email at IDclaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial conversation.
Kim Smerdon, head of Boyes Turner’s successful industrial disease and personal injury teams is pleased to announce that senior associate solicitor, Melloney Harbutt, has been awarded Asbestos Disease Specialist status by APIL.
Melloney acts exclusively for people from a wide range of trades and occupations who have suffered asbestos-related diseases, including pleural thickening, asbestosis and mesothelioma, with a particular interest and specialism in difficult lung cancer cases. She recovers compensation for individuals and their bereaved families from their former employers’ insurers, and for mesothelioma sufferers under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme. She achieves justice and compensation for those exposed indirectly to asbestos dust, such as on a relative’s clothes or from living close to an asbestos factory.
Melloney has dedicated her career to making a difference to the lives of those affected by asbestos. She works hard to secure lifetime settlements, provisional awards in case of possible future malignancy, and justice for her injured clients in hard fought and evidentially difficult cases, achieving success where less experienced solicitors might fail.
We are delighted that her expertise, commitment and dedication to helping these deserving clients has been recognised.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos related disease, we may be able to help. Contact us by email IDClaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial discussion.
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