Mrs Margaret Scorer died from mesothelioma, an aggressive asbestos related cancer having not worked with asbestos during her working life. Her husband, Mr Scorer had worked as a testing machine engineer from 1972 with the company, Avery Denison. Whilst he was working for this company (sometime between the late 1970's and early 1980's) he was sent to the Cape Asbestos Factory on Tolpits Lane in Watford by his employer to calibrate and service the destructive asbestos testing machine at the factory.
Mr Scorer remembered the factory being very dusty when he was there. He was required to attend the factory for a few days every 3 months over the course of approximately 4 years. He was not given health and safety advice and in particular warned of the dangers of asbestos by his employer or by the asbestos factory. He remembered his overalls being covered in asbestos dust when he brought them home for his wife to wash.
Mrs Scorer shook her husband's overalls before washing them. This was the only exposure she could recall. Unfortunately, after a long battle with her illness (almost 2 years) she died on the 11 April 2012.
The link between this fatal cancer and asbestos dust being brought home to be laundered had been known for many years, as early as 1965. Even though the dangers were well known the case was strongly contested by Cape and Avery Denison.
The company that operated the Cape Asbestos factory no longer existed. Mrs Scorer's son (as executor to her estate), brought a claim against his father's employer and also against the parent company (which had overall control over the factory), Cape Intermediate Holdings plc. Incidentally this company was the second largest asbestos manufacturer in the UK.
Cape relied on a large amount of disclosed material which purported to paint a picture of a very clean working environment. They suggested that any exposure to Mr Scorer was well within the HSE control limits set at the time. Witness statements obtained on the family's behalf described particularly dusty working conditions.
Mrs Scorer's son obtained a substantial settlement from both Defendants a week before the case had been listed for a 3 day trial in the High Court in London. The case had been listed as a category A trial as it dealt with issues of public importance and was due to be heard on the 24 February 2014.
This was a ground breaking case as the employer's duty extended to advise/warn its employees (of the dangers of taking asbestos home) even when the employee was working at another's premises. In addition, owners/occupiers of premises (or their parent company in this case) have a duty to advise/warn visitors and contractors working at their site.
Dushal Mehta conducted the case for the family and said:
'I am pleased that we were able to secure justice for the family. Cape and Avery Denison fought the case long and hard. If only they had advised Mr Scorer not to take his overalls home to be cleaned this sad and untimely loss of life could have been avoided. The dangers were well known by this time. Throughout the case, the family have only wanted to obtain some recognition for her death. This was never about securing financial compensation for them. They have acted with great dignity throughout the case.'
Contact us on freephone 0800 358 3848
Or start your claim online.
"The group is praised for its commitment to 'demystifying the legal process' while this is a firm for which the client has always been a priority"
Fieldfisher has successfully been recognised as an "Occupation and Asbestos Disease Specialists" Fieldfisher are now recognised as assessors
Charities we support
Bussey decision comes too late for carpenter exposed to asbestos in 1960s London
Our most recent settlement in the case of Alan Kaszubowski sadly highlights how important the Bussey judgement was.
Asbestos rulings provide glimmer of hope for cancer sufferers
Employers can no longer hide behind a statistic that claimed to show a ‘safe’ level of exposure, which could pave the way for a wave of compensation claims, writes Peter Williams for The Times Brief.
Claimant lawyers hail landmark asbestos risk ruling
Caroline Pinfold's landmark case of Bussey vs Anglia Heating Ltd. was featured in the Law Society Gazette
Court of Appeal offers compensation hope to victims of asbestos poisoning
A landmark ruling that could pave the way for compensation for thousands of people suffering from cancer caused by asbestos.