Mr David Copley worked for a number of companies throughout his life but spent most of his time employed at the Camberwell School of Arts in their maintenance team. Prior to that, he had spent a few years in the early 1960s working as a lift engineer at the Shell building, Waterloo, when it was being constructed. Mr Copley passed away in July 2008 and it was not until the investigation in to his death that the family were made aware that he had died due to mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer.
Dushal Mehta faced a number of obstacles before he was able to successfully negotiate settlement. Firstly Mr and Mrs Copley had only briefly spoken about his asbestos exposure during their marriage. All that she could recall was that he worked in the Shell building when asbestos was being sprayed and that he used to wear asbestos gloves and aprons whilst working at the School of Arts.
Dushal Mehta, by carrying out research into the history of Shell in London, established that it must have been the Shell building in Waterloo where Mr Copley was working whilst employed by Otis Lifts. At this particular time, the Shell building was in fact being constructed. Dushal was therefore able to prove that he must have been present when it was being insulated.
Dushal was also able to locate witnesses that had worked with Mr Copley at the school of arts and they recalled other instances when Mr Copley may have come into contact with asbestos. One such instance was when he was asked to demolish part of an old grammar school over the summer months. During this time, he was breaking up asbestos sheeting without protective clothing or masks.
Dushal issued court proceedings against Otis and also the body responsible for the school of arts, the London Pension Fund Authority. As with many local authority schools, the governing bodies had changed over the years and responsibility for the liabilities of the school had passed from one insurer to another. It was therefore important that the correct body was identified.
Dushal managed to recover compensation for Mrs Copley without the need for her to go to court. She was very pleased with the outcome.
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