James Allen undertook a number of jobs over the years but from about 1960 to about 1970 he worked for F E Beaumont Limited as a steeplejack. In this employment he was exposed to asbestos.
Mr Allen's job was to erect steel chimneys, to paint or clad them with aluminium sheeting, to maintain brick chimneys and so on. His job took him to power station chimneys, cooling towers, church spires All across the country.
On one occasion Mr Allen was working away from home in Barrow in Furness. He was unable to get lodgings and so slept in the boiler house. He and his driver were sleeping on bags of some very soft material and in the morning he was told by laggers that they had been sleeping on bags of asbestos.
On a number of other occasions Mr Allen was working in the boiler room, connecting the chimney to the boiler and taking the chimney upwards, while there were laggers around him, working in the same room, applying asbestos insulation. He saw the laggers "knock up" asbestos lagging in a big tub. He saw them emptying bags of asbestos into the tub and then mixing it with water. He saw them pick it up with their hands and throw it directly on to the boiler, where it would stick. The dust was clearly visible in the air around him and Mr Allen could see grey specks of dust in the atmosphere.
When Mr Allen was erecting steel chimneys he and his colleagues would secure ladders in place around the lower lengths of the chimney by means of a wired bond. This is effectively a wire that runs from one leg of the ladder around the back of the chimney and attaches to the other leg of the ladder. In order to prevent the wire bond damaging the chimney Mr Allen would put little bits of asbestos rope between the wire and the chimney. He would cut asbestos rope into short lengths for this purpose, and he did so on countless occasions.
On some jobs Mr Allen had to fix aluminium cladding around the steel chimney. He needed to create a space between the external aluminium sheet and the interior steel chimney of about ¼ of an inch. He and his colleagues achieved this by placing a ring of asbestos rope around the steel chimney and in so doing he handled the asbestos rope and came into contact with airborne asbestos fibres and debris.
In early 2014 Mr Allen began feeling unwell. He went to see his GP who referred him on to hospital and in May 2014 he was told that he was suffering from mesothelioma. In early June Mr Allen contacted Andrew Morgan for advice.
Andrew went to see Mr Allen at home in Bexleyheath, Kent, to give him some advice about his claim and to take a detailed statement. Mr Allen was able to provide helpful photographs.
Andrew set about tracing the employer. Although the exposure happened long ago Andrew was able to identify the company. Indeed Fieldfisher had pursued F E Beaumont Ltd previously for another client and had kept records. Andrew was able to show that the company was no longer trading but even so he identified the insurer and made a claim. He obtained a speedy medical report that confirmed the diagnosis and confirmed that this employment was the cause. He gave Mr Allen advice about the strengths of the case and its likely value and Mr Allen agreed to make a "Part 36 Offer" to settle the case. The Defendant did not accept that offer but in February 2015 the Defendants made a counter offer which Mr Allen was happy to accept, only eight months after first instructing Andrew.
Mr Allen went on to say:
Andrew was brilliant, we had a couple of appointments that we had to change because I was due treatments, he was very understanding and always rescheduled for me. Andrew visited my home and noted down everything perfectly. I can't fault him or the practice, they were brilliant from start to finish and I was more than and satisfied with end result.
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