Mesothelioma victim's widow in damages victory

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Mesothelioma victim's widow in damages victory

13th July 2011

The widow of a man who died from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos throughout his career has received £198,000 in an out of court settlement.

Lesley Mynett, an industrial disease expert with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said her client had spent much of his life working with or in the immediate vicinity of deadly asbestos, which had led to him developing the painful cancer.

“After leaving the Royal Navy in the late 1960s, he began working as an engineer’s mate with British Steel,” said Lesley, an associate with the firm. “His duties involved undertaking repair work on the valves and rollers in the Rodd and Bar Mill of British Steel sites, as well as maintenance work in other areas. He would also regularly repair steam valve glands and boilers in the boiler houses.”

Lesley said that in order to access the repair sites, her client and his colleagues would need to rip away asbestos lagging, knocking it away from the boilers, valves and pipes with a hammer. “This process created asbestos dust and fibres in the atmosphere, which would get on his clothes and on the floor around him,” she said. “They were not provided with any masks or protective equipment and would inevitably inhale the asbestos dust and fibres.”

He left this job after just a few months, beginning a 25-year career working for the Conoco Oil Refinery on Humberside. “He was initially employed as a process operator, working the pumps and valves and commissioning parts of the plant,” explained Lesley. “Part of this process would involve steam blowing through the pipes to eliminate any dust, rust and debris - including asbestos dust and fibres. This process emitted a lot of dust into the atmosphere.”

Lesley said that the lagging on the pipe work in various areas of the plant was asbestos. “It was also part of my client’s duties to perform maintenance and repairs on the plant as and when necessary. In order to access some of the valves, he would need to climb and walk along pipe work to access them. This caused lagging to break away and asbestos fibres to be emitted into the atmosphere, which would then be inhaled by anyone working in the immediate vicinity. He regularly worked around lagged pipe work and wasn’t provided with a mask to wear,” said Lesley.

Following major incidents at the plant at which he worked, Lesley said her client had to undertake significant repairs which involved disturbing asbestos dust contained in debris and rubble, as well as repairing pipes lagged with asbestos.

“Following my client’s retirement, he began to suffer problems with his chest and breathing which he realised were not related to an ongoing heart condition,” said Lesley. “In April last year he was referred by his GP to hospital where tests showed the extent of the damage to his lungs, and in May the diagnosis of Mesothelioma was confirmed. Although he began his claim for compensation following this diagnosis, my client sadly died just four months later, before we were able to complete the process,” said Lesley.

Following her client’s death, Lesley continued the fight for justice on behalf of the man’s widow. “This man served his country for many years, before putting the skills he had learned during that time to use working diligently throughout the rest of his life,” said Lesley. “But it was this work that exposed him to asbestos and led to him developing this terrible disease.”

Lesley negotiated a £198,000 settlement on behalf of the man’s widow.

“Obviously no amount of money can make up for losing a loving and beloved husband and father in such a way, but by succeeding in pursuing his claim for compensation, we have held those responsible to account and now hopefully his family can begin the difficult process of moving on with their lives.”


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

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.