Charlotte Thorpe was instructed by a mesothelioma sufferer in the summer of 2022.
Mr M, born in 1950, recalled asbestos exposure with three different employers, Marryat Jackson Norris, C.B. Jackson & Company Limited and Croydon Council.
Mr M's background was in heating and ventilation, and he had spent his career working in engineering and with boilers. Mr M had removed and replaced old boilers, which were lagged with asbestos. He had used asbestos rope as part of his boiler repairs. He also used a hammer to smash away asbestos lagging from pipes in boiler houses. The air would be thick with asbestos dust around him.
His working environment was dusty and he was never warned of the dangers of asbestos exposure nor was he provided with any personal protective equipment. He describes dust in the air, on his clothes, face and hair. He was provided with overalls, which he would take home once each week to wash.
Mr M worked for these companies from 1966 to 1980, as he started as an apprentice at the age of 16 with C.B. Jackson. He was exposed to asbestos throughout his work history.
Mr M first noticed that he was feeling breathless in March 2022, while on holiday in Spain. He went to his GP and following further investigation, an X-ray showed his left lung was full of fluid. He had 1.5 litres of fluid drained from his lung and was sent for a biopsy, where a further 2 litres were drained and he had a talc pleurodesis. He was subsequently told of his diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Charlotte served witness evidence provided by Mr M to prove negligent exposure to asbestos, as well as medical evidence to demonstrate how this exposure had caused his illness.
Charlotte also prepared the case to issue court proceedings, to ensure the case progressed swiftly. Marryat Jackson Norris were dissolved and so company restoration proceedings also had to be started so that Mr M could bring his claim against this company. Proceedings were the issued against all 3 companies early in 2023.
Two of the Defendants initially sought to defend the claim, putting the Claimant to proof of his allegations in their Defences. The third Defendant failed to respond to the claim at all and so Charlotte obtained Judgment in Default against them.
Charlotte was ultimately able to obtain judgment against all 3 defendants, before the first court hearing, which meant all defendants accepted they had been negligent in exposing Mr M to asbestos and causing him to develop mesothelioma. They also agreed to release an interim payment of £50,000.
The claim then continued to progress up until the final hearing, due to take place in October 2023. Charlotte was able to settle the claim before the hearing and negotiate with the Defendants to increase their settlement offers. The claim settled for £250,000, as well as an indemnity for private funded medical treatment. This was important as mesothelioma patients are often candidates for treatment not available on the NHS, which is expensive to fund privately. This indemnity means Mr M will not need to use his damages for future treatments he may need, and the Defendants will pay for treatment separately for as long as required. Mr M had already had immunotherapy and had started chemotherapy treatment, so it was important for him to have as many options as possible for treatment in the future.
Following settlement, Mr M's wife said:
'We have both found extreme support and empathy from Charlotte and Fieldfisher. Throughout the time we have known Charlotte, she has always been professional, friendly, caring, understanding, sensitive, patient, a listener as well as a guide. She has explained everything ‘along the way’ in words that we can both understand.
When we have invited our grown-up children to meetings, Charlotte has always welcomed them and remained completely unfazed by their presence and questions. She has done so well in gaining an excellent result in the claims she has made with the three companies involved in my husband's claim.
Although the money will not bring him back to his original self, it will go a long way to ensure that he is kept comfortable and happy for the time that we have left.'
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