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Case Study

Cape Asbestos continues to deny causing mesothelioma deaths

Dushal Mehta was instructed by Sean McGuigan, the son and executor of the estate of the late Mr Francis McGuigan who was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died in November 2017. The family only became aware of Mr McGuigan's diagnosis following a post mortem and advice from the coroner that they could potentially claim compensation.

Mr McGuigan had worked at the notorious Cape Asbestos factory on Tolpits Lane in Watford from around 1961 until 1985. He initially worked on the machines in the factory and then later as a beater man.

Although Mr McGuigan had not given a lifetime statement, it was clear from his work and from other cases involving the Cape factory that he would have been regularly exposed to asbestos during his time at the factory and would not have been given any advice as to the dangers.

He had also told his doctors for years that he had been exposed to asbestos working at the Cape factory and, in fact, had been sent by Cape for regular X-rays because of the risk of asbestos exposure by working in the factory.

In 1982, Mr McGuigan had developed symptoms thought to relate to his asbestos exposure. Further tests revealed that he had developed a squamous cell carcinoma. He subsequently underwent a left upper lobectomy from which he recovered and continued working at the factory after being told asbestos exposure had not caused the carcinoma. Only in 2017 did he report health difficulties linked to his mesothelioma.

Despite his earlier condition not being linked to asbestos exposure, the Defendant argued that the family were out of time for bringing a claim for mesothelioma because of the earlier condition.

They tried to argue that a claim should have been brought within three years of the first time Mr McGuigan was made aware of the earlier condition diagnosed in 1982. Astonishingly, they also refused to accept that he had been exposed to asbestos during his time at the factory despite what was reported in his medical records, the nature of the jobs he performed and the historic legacy of hundreds of thousands of asbestos cases brought against the factory and company over 30 years.

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For further information about mesothelioma claims, please call Dushal Mehta on 020 7861 4033 or email dushal.mehta@fieldfisher.com.

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