Tony Ely worked for LEP Transport, at Sunlight Wharf on the banks of the Thames in the City of London, from about 1963 to about 1980.
Throughout most of this period Tony's job was to oversee gangs who were unloading barges from the river and storing the contents in the warehouse and then loading the goods on to lorries to be taken to their final destinations. LEP Transport handled a wide variety of materials and goods including foodstuffs, leather goods and construction materials. Tony remembered, in particular, that when some repairs were needed to St Pauls Cathedral the blocks of stonework were brought up to Sunlight Wharf by barge and were unloaded there before being taken up to the Cathedral nearby for the repairs.
Tony remembered that at LEP Transport they had to handle with hessian sacks. These were packed into the barges in layers. When the sacks were unloaded from the barge they were placed on pallets before the pallets were lifted by crane and then delivered to the storage areas in the warehouse. The sacks were then taken by forklift truck and were moved to wherever they were going to be stored. In order to make more room and to pack things efficiently and tightly it was often necessary to take the sacks off the pallets and then to stack them to make more room for other goods.
Tony remembered that the sacks, like all goods, were sometimes damaged and broken open. As a result when working with these sacks he worked in a particularly dusty environment.
Before the sacks were despatched from the warehouse they were generally loaded onto pallets and the pallets were then placed on flat back lorries. Sometimes sacks were loaded directly on to flat back lorries. The sacks would be covered with a tarpaulin sheet and tied down before the lorry left.
The sacks contained asbestos. The dust that they generated therefore also contained asbestos.
It was Tony's job, as chargehand, to organise where all the goods were stacked and stored and to organise how they should be laid out ready for despatch. This meant that he was in and around all the goods, including the sacks, as they were being loaded and unloaded and despatched.
This system of work continued until Tony left LEP Transport in 1980, although the number of barges and the volume of goods reduced from the middle of the 1970s onwards as the industry felt the effects of containerisation.
After 1980 Tony took a job in security, mainly working in the City, until he retired.
Tony developed pains on the right hand side of his chest in early 2013 so he went to see his GP. He was eventually referred to hospital where he was found to have fluid on the lung. He was referred on to Guys Hospital for further treatment where he was given the diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Tony contacted Partner Andrew Morgan for advice. Andrew was able to prove that LEP Transport Limited still existed, although it has changed its name, and he made a claim. Sunlight Wharf was situated only a few hundred yards from the offices of Fieldfisher, also on the banks of the Thames near London Bridge. Andrew obtained copies of Tony's medical records and instructed an expert to prepare a medical report. He prepared a schedule calculating the value of Tony's claim. He arranged a meeting with a barrister to give an overview of the case, following which Andrew advised making an "offer to settle".
The Defendant's insurers denied liability throughout but after some delay they wrote to accept Tony's offer of settlement. Sadly Tony had died from his condition just the day before the Defendant's accepted his offer. As a result, the offer had lapsed.
Tony's wife, Linda, took over the claim. Andrew obtained instructions and information from her about losses and expenses, about the care that she had provided to Tony and about her pension income. As a result he was able to negotiate the settlement at an increased figure of £168,530 some four months after Tony had passed away.
In addition, as part of the over all offer, LEP Transport Limited agreed to make a payment of £2,271 to the hospice where Tony received care during his final days.
The case was conducted on a "No Win – No Fee" basis so that neither Tony nor Linda had to make any contribution to their legal costs.
After the csae settled, Linda went on to say:
"I am very grateful to Andrew. He made a very difficult and sad case very easy for me to pursue after Tony passed … Andrew kept me very well informed by letter or phone explaining every detail so it was easy to understand. Andrew helped me in every way he could.
Tony would be pleased the claim has now been settled as it ensures my daughter and 5 grandchildren's financial future."
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