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Claim for damages for mesothelioma in England following a full and final settlement in Scotland

Successful asbestos exposure case settled in England on behalf of Scottish woman

Posted on 12 December 2018

A Scottish woman, known only as Mrs X to protect her identity, has successfully settled a legal case following the death of her husband from mesothelioma in 2015. 

Mr X brought a claim in Scotland against his Scottish employers who exposed him to asbestos and caused him to develop pleural plaques.  This claim settled on a full and final basis in July 2014.  Mr X’s health deteriorated shortly after his plaques claim had settled when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He died in January 2015.  After his death, Mrs X contacted a new firm of Scottish solicitors to investigate the possibility of a claim being brought in Scotland for his development of mesothelioma.

Due to possible legal obstacles to the claim being brought in Scotland, mesothelioma claim lawyer Kevin Johnson was also asked to review the case and advise on the possibility of a claim being brought in England for Mr X's death from mesothelioma.

Mr X was a pipe fitter and plumber and had worked on a number of contracts in England. It was alleged that he was exposed to asbestos as a result of stripping asbestos lagging to carry out maintenance and repairs on pipework and other equipment in chemical plants and oil refineries in Southern England.

The amount of compensation that Mr X had received in his Scottish settlement included a discount because some of his asbestos exposure had happened in England.  

It has not been possible to pursue a claim for compensation for pleural plaques in England since 2007 when the law changed following a test case brought by the insurance industry to restrict the rights of asbestos victims.  This decision changed the longstanding practice of the Courts awarding compensation to pleural plaques sufferers.

Court proceedings were started in England against an English employer on behalf of Mrs X.  The defendant in the English claim raised various legal arguments including that the settlement in Scotland prevented any further claims being brought against it, and that this compensation was a full and final settlement of all claims.  

The defendant eventually withdrew these arguments at a case management hearing in front of a specialist asbestos Judge.  Kevin argued that there could not be any settlement of the claim in England as a result of the Scottish action because pleural plaques could not be compensated in England at the time of the Scottish settlement.  Therefore, the Scottish claim could not bar an English claim because there was no legal right to bringing a claim in England at that time.  The English defendant was not involved in the Scottish claim in any way and had not paid any compensation to Mr X.

Following a Court hearing, interim damages were awarded to Mrs X.  Following extensive negotiations the claim settled for a substantial six figure sum.

Mesothelioma solicitor at Leigh Day Kevin Johnson said:

“This was an unusual and complex asbestos exposure case where our client’s husband first developed pleural plaques, and then sadly died from mesothelioma.  

“I am pleased that we were able to obtain a settlement from the English company that exposed him to asbestos, and that my client’s financial future is now secure.”