Ceiling fitter in settlement victory after asbestos leads to mesothelioma

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Ceiling fitter in settlement victory after asbestos leads to mesothelioma

25th April 2013

An Essex man who developed an asbestos-related cancer as a result of work he did more than 30 years ago has received £180,000 in an out of court settlement.

Edmund Young, an industrial disease specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the former ceiling fixer, who is now in his 60s, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2012.

“My client first began feeling ill in March 2012,” said Edmund, a partner at the firm. “After suffering chest pains, breathlessness and a nasty cough he went to see his GP who referred him to hospital where a chest x-ray revealed he had a build-up of fluid in his right lung.”

Following an operation to drain almost a litre of fluid from his lung, the father-of-two underwent a series of scans. When a biopsy in May confirmed he was suffering from malignant mesothelioma - an incurable lung cancer only ever caused by asbestos - he began a course of chemotherapy.

“Throughout the 1970s and 80s my client worked as a ceiling fixer,” said Edmund. “His job involved putting up suspended ceilings made from asbestos tiles which he would cut to size using a handsaw and knife before drilling holes in each corner so the tiles could be screwed into place.

“Each day my client would cut between 50 and 60 ceiling tiles to size,” added Edmund. “Even though the work produced huge amounts of toxic asbestos dust which would hang in the air for him to inhale as well as settling on his clothes and shoes, he was never warned of the risks of asbestos and he was never provided with a mask or protective clothing.”

Edmund said his client was also exposed to asbestos whilst removing and replacing damaged asbestos cladding from around metal supporting columns. “The columns were based in the company loading bay,” he said. “Several of the columns had been damaged by reversing vehicles and it was my client’s job to chip away the fibrous white material using a hammer so it could be replaced.

“At the end of his shift, he would have to sweep all the resulting asbestos debris from the floor so it could be bagged and thrown away,” added Edmund. “The sweeping process alone produced so much dust that his clothes and hair would be completely white with asbestos fibres. Despite this, he was never warned of the risks of asbestos exposure and he was never provided with any kind of respiratory equipment.”

Edmund said his client’s prognosis is poor and his symptoms continue to deteriorate. “Sadly my client is now extremely ill,” he said. “He is unable to walk for any distance without experiencing pain and severe breathlessness, he has lost a significant amount of weight and he now suffers frequently with insomnia and night sweats.

“After my client instructed us, we were determined to hold his former employers to account,” said Edmund. “Not only did they fail to inform him of the inherent dangers involved with asbestos exposure but they also showed scant regard for his health by failing to even provide him with adequate safety equipment.

“Had my client simply been issued with a mask and protective clothing there is a chance he may not have developed this most awful of diseases,” he added. “At the moment he is being looked after at home by his partner but should his condition deteriorate to the point where he requires more professional assistance we hope the settlement he has now received will help in providing the best levels of care available in the months ahead.”


How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.