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Case Study

Tragedy of Otis workers dealing with lift shaft wiring coated in asbestos

Dushal Mehta was instructed by Mr Clifford Taylor following his diagnosis with mesothelioma. Mr Taylor worked as an engineer for Otis Lifts for more than 35 years, retiring last year at the age of 65.

Clifford began his career at Otis in its installation and construction team. He worked in lift shafts, pulling up steel works and fitting the wiring into the shafts. He and his workmates wrapped the wiring with asbestos string to keep it in place and to prevent fire. Clifford remembers people near him using balls of asbestos string as footballs, kicking them around for fun, unaware of the dangers to their health. He also remembers asbestos being used to back lift doors and in control panels.

For 11 years, Clifford was based at the Shell Tower in London, now notorious for containing asbestos. He worked on repairing and modernising approximately 33 lifts during that time.

In previous actions against Otis and other lift companies contracted to the Shell building, Dushal discovered that the building contained so much asbestos, it took years for the companies to remove it. Despite this, Clifford never received any training on how to handle asbestos, nor was he given a protective mask to wear.

Clifford was diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma. Sadly, his condition progressed very aggressively and he experienced severe symptoms, including extreme pain and continuous fluid build-up.  The hospital was unable to keep his pain under control, despite prescribing strong painkillers.  He had to visit the hospital every week because of problems with the pleural tap and was reliant on portable oxygen every day. Not long after his diagnosis, Clifford struggled with very basic tasks such as washing and dressing himself. 

Clifford instructed Dushal to pursue a claim for him but, sadly, because of the aggressive nature of his condition and the particular type of mesothelioma, Clifford past away before the claim could be concluded.  Dushal managed to settle the claim, however, by meeting the Defendant's insurers very early and secured nearly £240,000 for  Clifford's wife, Linda, without her having to attend court or wait a months for settlement.

At the end of the case Clifford's son, James, said the following:

"On behalf of my mother, sister and I we would like to thank you for your hard work and compassion in bringing the matter concerning my father to a satisfactory conclusion. No amount of money can ever compensate for the loss of a loved one but knowing that mum is now financially secure will help us to bring some closure at this extremely difficult time. Upon his diagnosis, all Dad wanted was to ensure that Mum would be looked after in his absence, and I am sure he would be pleased with the result."

Contact us

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

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