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Caroline Pinfold acted for Mr Plumer who was exposed to asbestos working for two different companies, SGB and Palmers Scaffolding a scaffolder in the 1970s and 1980s.


Kelvin Plumer2


During the course of his employment with these companies, he worked on several projects including the demolition of an old sorting office in Mount Pleasant and the Ford Motor plant in Dagenham.

The main way in which Mr Plumer was exposed to asbestos was during the clearing up process after work by other contractors had been completed. At Mount pleasant asbestos sheets had been laid onto the scaffolding for fire protection purposes when demolition contractors had used thermal lances. Asbestos lagging had also been removed and dust lay on the boards afterwards. In the Ford Motor plant there was also asbestos  dust on sheets covering the boards of the scaffolding. There were large quantities of asbestos dust in the air when the scaffolding was being dismantled and any dust covers were cleared away.


At no point during his employment was he ever warned about the dangers of asbestos or provided with any protective equiptment.

Mr Plumer  noticed that he was getting progressively short of breath and had X-rays but nothing was detected at first. He was admitted to hospital in March 2012 after he complained that he felt as if he was drowning. He had six litres of fluid drained from his lung. He was transferred to another hospital where he had a drain inserted in his chest and discharged. He returned a week later when the drain was removed. He lost about two stone in weight. He had to return in July 2012 when he was told that he had mesothelioma.


The employers denied liability. Proceedings were issued and the employers then agreed that they had been negligent but denied that Mr Plumer had been correctly diagnosed because his medical condition was unusual. Dr R M Rudd, an eminent medical expert on mesothelioma had reported on behalf of Mr Plumer. Professor Sheaff, a renowned consultant histopathologist also reported on the tumour samples. The defendants obtained a report from Professor Gleeson, a consultant radiologist who was of the view that although the progression of the mesothelioma was unusual there were various reasons for supporting that diagnosis.

The defendants then accepted full liability and the proceedings settled about three weeks before it was listed for hearing in the High Court.


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