Mesothelioma victim's widow succeeds in fight for justice

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Mesothelioma victim's widow succeeds in fight for justice

3rd August 2010

A widow has received more than £90,000 in an out of court settlement after her husband succumbed to a cancer caused by work he did more than four decades ago.

The woman approached Fentons Solicitors LLP after her husband died from mesothelioma, a painful cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, in June 2008.

Lesley Mynett, an industrial disease specialist with the firm, took on the case against the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.

"My client's husband worked for UKAEA from 1959 to 1973," said Lesley, an associate with Fentons. "He was employed initially as a trainee shop manager at the Capenhurst Diffusion Plant, and later promoted to a shop manager (Grade 3 Chemist Physician). Over the years, he worked his way through the grades and moved onto the Risley Reactor Group to gain further experience within the industry," she said.

But it was during this time that he was exposed to asbestos, which was used widely throughout the sites at which he worked, said Lesley.

"At the Capenhurst Diffusion Plant, asbestos was used as an insulating cladding around the plant which pumped the uranium," she said. "All of the machinery - including compressors and pipework - was lagged with asbestos. My client's husband was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres during maintenance operations when units needed to be shut down for either repair or removal altogether.

"The asbestos cladding would be cut away from the machinery in order to access a breakdown causing asbestos fibres to be released into the atmosphere and breathed in by her husband."

Lesley said he had moved to the Windfrith Nuclear Power Station during the 1960s, which was being prepared to build the nuclear reactor during that period.

"At the Windfrith site, asbestos was used as an insulating cladding around the plant which pumped uranium," she said. "My client's husband was exposed to asbestos when repairs to the plant were necessary and asbestos was cut away in order to access breakdown."

Lesley, who for many years has represented victims of mesothelioma and their families, said this was a particularly distressing case. "Although the client's husband was not diagnosed with mesothelioma until August 2007, medical evidence showed that he had been suffering with symptoms since 2001," she said. "He endured an unusually long battle with the disease and significant pain and suffering throughout the seven years that followed."

Lesley said the client's husband died before he was able to contact a solicitor to look into the possibility of making a claim for compensation.

"His wife took up the fight in the name of her husband," she said. "We were able to track down a former colleague who offered an expert account of the work environment. He was able to recall fine details about how asbestos was prevalent in the workplace, and the defendants admitted liability on the strength of the evidence we presented."

In June 2010, Lesley negotiated a settlement of £92,800 on behalf of the widow.

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

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.