14 April 2011
In the first ruling of its kind in England, Leigh Day & Co has successfully sued an asbestos manufacturing parent company for the asbestos exposure caused by its Uxbridge-based subsidiary.
Our client, now lives in Australia, but was employed by Uxbridge Flint Brick Company (also known as Cape Building Products) in the late 50’s and early 60’s where he suffered heavy asbestos exposure from the dust escaping from the manufacture of asbestos boards. Sadly he was diagnosed with asbestosis in 2007 and his condition has since deteriorated.
Uxbridge Flint Brick Company was a subsidiary of one of England's largest asbestos manufacturers, Cape PLC. Unable to pursue a claim against Uxbridge Flint Brick, due to an 'asbestosis exclusion clause' in its insurance policy, and rather than leaving our client without compensation, we pursued the claim instead against Cape PLC.
The Cape group has a long history of asbestos production dating back to the late 1800’s. It became a world leader in asbestos production and owned asbestos mines overseas. This asbestos was used to manufacture a vast variety of insulation products at numerous subsidiary companies which sadly has caused serious injury and death to countless workers, their families and those living close to their asbestos factories.
Through our research it became clear to us that Cape maintained a close relationship with its subsidiary companies. Cape denied involvement in Uxbridge's operations and sought to hide behind a “corporate veil”. However, over a two-day trial, we satisfied the High Court Judge of Cape’s involvement in asbestos safety which left them liable for Uxbridge’s workers. He found in our client’s favour and granted him damages in excess of £120,000.
Vijay Ganapathy, senior solicitor in Leigh Day's Asbestos and Mesothelioma Claims Department conducted the claim on behalf of our client. He comments:
This is an entirely novel point of law and we are immensely pleased to have acted for our client to achieve a successful outcome. Hopefully this will pave the way for others in his position to claim compensation where no recourse was previously available.
It was a huge challenge to acquire sufficient evidence from the 1950’s early 60’s when many of the crucial documents have been destroyed or lost. The judge was convinced of Cape’s involvement in matters concerning asbestos safety, which revealed the liability we have suspected they always held to their workers.
Cape's asbestos legacy in England has been shocking and resulted in hundreds, if not possibly thousands of asbestos related deaths. We have heard so many sad stories from asbestos workers and their families about the devastating effect of asbestos, that it is only right we properly stand up for the rights of those who are injured against the companies who have caused their misery.
Leigh Day: asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers
Leigh Day has a team of specialist mesothelioma claims lawyers who have successfully obtained millions of pounds in compensation for people who have contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace. We only represent claimants and do not act for insurance companies. Daniel Easton, partner and head of the industrial diseases team, has been recognised as a leader in the areas of asbestos compensation claims by both major legal directories. Chambers guide to the legal profession recently described him as being considered ‘outstandingly knowledgeable’ by the Bar, and ‘compassionate’ and ‘responsive’ by clients.
If you would like to talk to one of our lawyers about a possible claim for compensation relating to asbestos, asbestosis, pleural plaques or mesothelioma please contact us on 020 7650 1200 for a free initial consultation.
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