Watts v 600 Leasing Limited and EMI Group plc
We acted for Mrs Watts, a widow. Her husband was employed by the First Defendant then known as Cox & Danks Limited (for whose liabilities the Second Defendants or their insurers became responsible) for approximately 15 months between 1961 to 1963 as a lorry driver.
Mr Watts would load scrap metal on to his lorry. He worked at various sites such as Tate & Lyle factory at Silvertown in East London, Greenwich Gas Board, Green & Silley Weir and Harland Wolff.
He would be required to remove asbestos lagging from any pipe work and boilers with a hammer and chisel before loading it on to his lorry because his employer was paying for the scrap metal and not for the lagging attached to it. He was not provided with a mask whilst removing the asbestos.
He then with his colleague loaded the scrap metal onto his lorry and unloaded it in the scrap yard at Bow.
Mr Watts was not aware he had an asbestos-related disease when he kindly gave a statement to Fieldfisher for a colleague’s case. By that time he was ill himself: he had been diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer. However, after his death it became clear that he had in fact been suffering from mesothelioma and that it was this asbestos disease that had caused his death.
We acted on behalf of Mrs Watts. She recalls that when she telephoned Mr Watts and asked him if he was available to take a statement on his colleague’s case he gave no indication that he was ill himself and unable to attend the offices of Fieldfisher to take a statement.
However, when he attended to take a statement, it was quite obvious that he was suffering and this just shows how remarkable Mr Watts was in that in his time of suffering he had no hesitation in assisting a colleague - he had no idea that in future years his evidence would help his family obtain compensation for his own death.
We were able to recover damages in the sum of £78,631.
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