Mr A was exposed to asbestos working as an engineer in the Mirror Group's printing premises at Holburn Circus between 1975 and 1988. During the claim, the Mirror changed its name to Reach Plc, under the parent company Stradbrook Holdings Reach Plc.
Mr A was regularly exposed while he maintained the J-Line printing presses (which had brakes made of asbestos known as 'Hoe and Crabtree' machines), in the magazine room. As the machines were often overworked, Mr A had to replace the brakes regularly, filing them down and releasing asbestos dust.
Mr A also had to clean the 'shoots' - the pipes that carried the papers from one floor to another. Mr A was never told about the dangers of asbestos nor given protective equipment.
Mr A was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August 2020 after developing a cough during June 2020. He quickly deteriorated over 10 months, after having his lungs drained and four sessions of chemotherapy. Mr A sadly died in July 2021.
Proceedings were issued while Mr A was still alive. Mr A had previously always been in good health and the diagnosis came as a huge shock to him and his family who enjoyed an outdoors lifestyle, managing horses on their 6-acre estate.
Expert evidence showed, as a result of the mesothelioma, Mr A's death was accelerated by 19 years which hugely impacted the family in terms of running their land.
The damages award had to be meticulously drafted due to the large dependency Mrs A had on her husband. This included Mr A's maintenance of their land and the stables they had converted into offices for commercial purposes. Mr A ran the business of letting the space to accountants, riding schools and a dog training business. Mr A had painted the stables even when he was extremely unwell.
A few days before trial, Dushal was able to achieve a six-figure settlement for the family, at least offering them some peace of mind.
The claim was particularly complex because of the vast land the family lived on and managed. The Deceased was heavily involved in the daily upkeep of the land and looking after the horses. He drove the lorry and horse trailer to events and maintained and serviced the family's motor vehicles.
Dushal relied on expert witness evidence from those providing the replacement help and support on the land and he also obtained expert evidence from an estate agent to comment on the value of those lost management tasks that Mr A had provided prior to his illness.
Following settlement, the family said: 'Dad’s case was not easy by any stretch. Me and my family are very impressed and grateful for the respect, kindness and highly professional service you have given us for such a long time. Dushal was so patient in speaking to A when he was first diagnosed and without this we would not have had the devastating understanding of the exposure to asbestos.
'I remember you unpicking the company structure chart of The Daily Mirror alongside the multiple insurers. Then having to understand the technical engineering terminology and of course interpret all of the equestrian terms took lots of patience - let alone get the case prepared for the court hearing. I would not want anyone to go through the suffering Dad went through - but I would not hesitate in recommending you and the team to anyone in a similar situation to us. Please be proud of all the work you have put into the case. Insurers are tricky and you fought every angle possible.'
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