Dushal Mehta was instructed by Mr B to bring a claim for damages following his diagnosis with asbestosis. Mr B had worked as a carpenter for the company Bovis between approximately 1964 and 1995.
As far as Mr B was concerned, he worked for the same Bovis company throughout this time and had continuity of employment. Whilst working for Bovis he worked in many Marks & Spencer stores as they were constructed or re-fitted. On an almost daily basis he cut asbestos sheets to size and was also required to remove old asbestos sheets. He also removed asbestos ceiling tiles in Marks & Spencer stores.
Dushal Mehta identified the insurers for Bovis for almost the entire period that Mr B had worked for them. There was a short period of time which appeared to be uninsured. We requested Mr B’s HMRC employment record and when this was received it identified three separate companies between 1964 and 1995. One of the three companies was still actively trading, the other two were dissolved. We pursued the Bovis company, which was now known as Lend Lease Construction Limited, as the only trading Bovis company which employed Mr B at the relevant time.
The insurers failed to progress Mr B’s claim and simply ignored our correspondence. We therefore issued Court proceedings to progress Mr B’s claim. The Defendants tried to allege that Mr B was employed by different Bovis companies and the company which was being pursued should only pay a proportion of his damages, if any at all.
Just prior to the initial hearing in March 2015, and despite having seen Mr Butcher’s evidence for well over a year, the Defendants sought the Court’s permission to obtain the expert evidence from an engineer and to adduce witness evidence from another case. They sought a trial late in 2016.
Dushal was able to resist those arguments at the initial hearing and the Court awarded Mr B his claim and the case was set down for a hearing to consider the value of the case in June 2015.
The Defendants failed to make Mr B an offer in settlement of his claim until approximately a week before the final hearing. His claim was eventually settled a day before the final hearing in the sum of £68,000 and this settlement was by way of provisional damages to allow Mr B the opportunity to make a further claim if he developed lung cancer or mesothelioma.
Mr B already had a respiratory disability of between 30% and 40% as a result of his asbestosis and he was at an increased risk of developing asbestos related lung cancer or mesothelioma. Mr B was able to secure full settlement from the active Bovis company and should he need to make a further claim in the future he will be able to secure full damages.
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