Asbestos case upheld in Court
In the recent asbestos case of Cox v Rolls-Royce, it was alleged that the Claimant had previously worked at one of the UK's major boiler workers (the Appellant), which employed a large number of tradesman to erect, commission and repair such boilers.
The Judge found that the Claimant had been employed by the company between 1966 and 1967, and had been deployed to work as a welder at power stations on substantial tasks which involved stripping down large boilers with exposure to asbestos. The Judge concluded that death from mesothelioma resulting from asbestos exposure had been proven, and the company had breached its duty of care in obliging the defendant to work in such conditions which constituted a material increase in the risks to the Claimant of him contracting mesothelioma.
The Defendant's appeal against the decision was subsequently rejected.
"It was held the employer had been negligent in exposing Mr Cox to asbestos. The employer argued Mr Cox had been exposed to asbestos elsewhere and that the exposure for which they were responsible was not enough to have caused the mesothelioma when set against the background of the greater exposure elsewhere. The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge had been correct to find that the limited exposure in this employment had made a material contribution to the risk that Mr Cox would develop mesothelioma and that, as a result, the employer was liable. This case shows how even the most apparently straightforward claims can be difficult to prove. It also shows how aggressive the insurers continue to be in fighting mesothelioma claims."