Following the success in the Court of Appeal in the case of Bussey v Anglia Heating Ltd  EWCA Civ 243, Peter Williams of Fieldfisher is pleased to confirm that following agreement from the defendant to pay full damages plus costs in favour of Mr Bussey, the case has finally settled. This negates the need for a further hearing in the High Court.
Mr Bussey was exposed to asbestos cutting flues and dealing with asbestos rope as a plumber in 1968. In February 2018, Fieldfisher successfully appealed against the way the dangers of asbestos fibres had previously been measured and used as a standard for mesothelioma claims.
Fieldfisher's legal team argued that the level set out in Technical Data Note 13 (TDN13) was not a reliable or appropriate test of acceptable levels of exposure to asbestos to judge employer liability, and the judges agreed.
Lord Justice Jackson said the High Court judge in the original Bussey hearing had felt ‘constrained’ by an earlier case Williams v University of Birmingham  EWCA Civ 1242, which relied on data that was never intended to be used as a yardstick for making claims.
Lord Justice Moylan agreed that there were particular concerns about the categorisation of risks in that case. The judges, however, referred Mrs Bussey's case back to the High Court with a strong direction in the Claimant's favour.
According to Justice Jackson: "In my view, if the judge had not felt constrained by the decision in Williams, he might have concluded that as a reasonably prudent employer, Anglia should have foreseen that risk; since the risk could have been avoided by simple precautions, it was not a risk which ought to have been accepted…"
According to Peter Williams, the successful appeal ruling made it very apparent that the defendant would lose any subsequent hearing and they were finally forced to capitulate.
"There was very little sense for the defence in continuing with the case once the judges ruled in our favour," he said.
Mrs Bussey will now receive full settlement on behalf of her husband who sadly died in 2016 before the second action began.
Peter Williams praised Mrs Bussey's courage and tenacity in continuing the fight for compensation.
"This was not an easy thing to do, particularly when you are grieving the death of your husband. But Mrs Bussey's courage has helped change the law and has paved the way for fairer treatment for other victims of asbestos exposure. For that, she should be immensely proud."
Veronica Bussey said she was hugely grateful to the legal team, in particular Mike Rawlinson QC and Gemma Scott of 12 King's Bench Walk Chambers, for helping her pursue the claim on behalf of her husband.
"Like most sufferers of this cruel disease, David worked hard his whole life and, while doing so, was unknowingly destroying his future. Our family has been left devastated by his death and I can only hope that his case means other sufferers see their claims settled more quickly to provide some small peace while they're still alive, rather than having to battle until it is too late."
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