Case Four

This was a particularly complicated asbestos related pleural thickening claim and Richard Hopgood settled the matter with less than a week to go before Trial.

He was diagnosed with pleural thickening back in 1993 but at the time he was reassured that there were no issues in respect of his breathing and he was reassured by his doctor that there was no problem as a result of his asbestos exposure.

The client was extremely relieved to hear this news as he had been diagnosed and (as often happens in these matters) he had confused the same with mesothelioma. Unfortunately the client had not had particularly good health and in 2006 developed a pleural effusion which was, after some debate, considered not to be a mesothelioma but to be a lymphocytic pleuritis. During that period of time there was a possibility that he had asbestos related pleural thickening but this never seemed to be communicated to him.

In 2009, he suffered a further pleural effusion on the opposite side of his chest and this time he was told that the effusions were related to his previous occupational exposure to asbestos but again fortunately there was no mesothelioma.

After some delay in getting the medical evidence together, the Defendants admitted liability for the first period of employment but not for the remaining two. Proceedings were issued and then the matter was vigorously defended by the Defendants who, amongst other things, raised the issue of limitation, causation and the fact that the Claimant had been provided with a mask and respiratory equipment and also that the handling procedures and policies set out by Kitsons at the time the Claimant was working for them complied with the regulations which were current at the time and also would have prevented him being exposed to asbestos.

Clearly facing a number of issues, it was necessary to obtain further Witness Statements to support the Claimant’s exposure and also engineering experts Reports to confirm that the Claimant’s witness evidence, if believed, would show that there were material breaches of the systems and therefore there was no compliance with the regulations and general standards in force at the time.

The Defendants obtained their own medical evidence of Dr Moore-Gillon and also they instructed their own Consulting Engineer but never served their report.

At a Case Management Conference the Defendants were given permission to rely upon their expert medical evidence but no Engineering Reports and the Court made a Costs Order against the Defendants.

The Defendants made an offer of £25,000 net of CRU on a full and final basis and given the potential risks on liability, causation and limitation a good settlement was reached for the Claimant.