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Daughters receive settlement following mother’s death from asbestos exposure in her own home

The family of Peggy Jones, a former head cook from London, has received a settlement following her death aged 88 from the asbestos-related respiratory condition, sarcomatoid mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer affecting the lining of the lungs.

Posted on 13 September 2023

Asbestos claims lawyers were able to show that Peggy had been exposed to asbestos insulated fire doors installed by letting agency contractors in her own home.

Peggy’s daughter, Julie, recalled that at some point in late 60s/early 70s, asbestos sheets were cut and fitted in the Islington flat in North London which Peggy and her family were renting. At the time, the letting agency had arranged for a firm to fireproof all the internal doors with asbestos sheeting which is believed to have been done to comply with fire regulations.

Image of Peggy Jones
Image of Peggy Jones

Peggy and Julie, who was a child at the time, were present in the flat when workers cut asbestos sheets which caused asbestos dust to be released in the air. This dust also settled on the floor and furniture which Peggy cleared by dusting and sweeping it up which caused her further asbestos exposure.

Julie and her sister, Sally, instructed mesothelioma claims specialist and partner at Leigh Day, Vijay Ganapathy, to handle the claim. Unfortunately, as Peggy’s mesothelioma was quite advanced before Leigh Day was instructed, she was not well enough to provide witness evidence specifying where she was exposed to asbestos prior to her death on 22 August 2020.

Investigations were carried out into the defendant letting agency which was found to still be in operation, so the family’s claim was advanced against them.

Fortunately, it was still possible to gain access to the asbestos fireproofed doors as the family had since bought the flat. Leigh Day arranged for samples to be taken under controlled conditions by a UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) company and sent to a laboratory for testing. This revealed that they contained amosite and chrysotile asbestos fibres, both of which are very dangerous and capable of causing mesothelioma, even in small amounts.

Following the inquest, evidence was put to the letting agency who claimed this could not be their responsibility as they had hired competent contractors to do the work. They also argued that they could not have known asbestos was dangerous as it was not banned at the time they had been fitted. However, Leigh Day highlighted that they had provided no evidence that competent contractors had been hired and it was clear the dangers of asbestos were known much earlier.

Whilst the defendant never conceded liability, a settlement was agreed for a substantial sum.

Vijay Ganapathy said:

“The circumstances surrounding Mrs Jones’ exposure to asbestos is particularly tragic as it occurred in her own home. This case is therefore a reminder that any asbestos which is present within a property can pose a serious danger to health if not dealt with properly.”

Vijay Ganapathy
Asbestos and mesothelioma Industrial disease Spinal injury

Vijay Ganapathy

Vijay is a partner who specialises in industrial disease and complex injury cases.

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