Neville Holt was born, raised and educated in England. He obtained a degree in chemistry from Cambridge University in 1957 and began his career as a chemical engineer with APV near Gatwick, Surrey, His early tasks included building scale model pilots of chemical plants out of glass and metal components. In order to maintain critical temperatures the apparatus had to be properly insulated and for this purpose Mr Holt and his colleagues used sectional lagging and flexible insulation sheets which he cut to size and shape. Where possible these materials were re-used each time that the test apparatus was dismantled. In this way, for a period of about 4 or 5 years, Mr Holt was exposed to asbestos.
Not long after this, in the early 1960s, Mr Holt moved to the USA where he has remained and where he has pursued his career and has raised a family.
Mr Holt was still working when, at age 75, he began having problems with his breathing. He underwent various investigations, funded initially by his workplace healthcare insurance, until, sadly, he was diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma.
Mr Holt could not recall asbestos exposure except for his exposure in England in his early career. He did not know whether that employer still existed or how to go about making a claim. He contacted a specialist mesothelioma attorney in California, where he now lives, who recommended Andrew Morgan.
Andrew was able to take instructions from Mr Holt by Skype. He advised there was good evidence of negligence and set about tracing the employer. Happily Andrew found that the company still existed and traded, although it had changed its name, and found that it had insurance coverage. He made a claim for Mr Holt's past and future losses of earnings, for the injury itself and for the private healthcare and Medicare costs.
The Defendants denied liability so Andrew issued court proceedings. At the first court hearing the Defendants said the exposure was so early that it could be argued the employer need not have appreciated there was any risk of injury and so the Court listed the case for a full trial.
Andrew disclosed documents showing that handling sectional lagging gave rise to substantial quantities of airborne asbestos. At that point he negotiated a settlement of £300,000.
Mr Holt says:
Once it became clear that the greatest likelihood of my asbestos exposure had been in the UK 50 or more years ago [my US attorneys] put me in touch with the UK law firm Fieldfisher.
I am extremely grateful for that recommendation which has turned out very successfully despite what I consider must have been a very difficult case given the large amount of elapsed time between the exposure and the filing of the law suit.
The lawyer at Fieldfisher handling my case has been Andrew Morgan. He has been outstandingly persistent and vigilant in pursuing the case against my former employer…I enthusiastically endorse his professionalism and work ethic.
We have acted or are acting in a number of US cases. They bring with them their own particular challenges: of taking instructions and giving advice to clients so far away and in a different time zone; of dealing with the US health care system which is so radically different from the NHS; of taking and preserving client testimony when they will not be able to travel to court to give evidence. I am delighted we have been able to obtain a good settlement for Mr Holt and that he can now put this litigation behind him.
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