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Asbestos News Autumn 2014


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Asbestos News Autumn 2014 - Success stories and important information

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Asbestos News Autumn 2014

  1. 1. Asbestos News Autumn 2014 Peter Williams Partner 020 7861 4825 Dushal Mehta Senior Associate 020 7861 4033 Andrew Morgan Partner 020 7861 4036 Alice Ketteringham Solicitor 020 7861 4553 Caroline Pinfold Partner 020 7861 4022 • Caring for our clients • Commitment to our cases • Cutting edge expertise Proud Sponsors of £160,000.00 recovered for ex merchant seaman page 2 Mesothelioma Act Payments Begin page 8 Fieldfisher supports The Guy’s and St Thomas’ Mesothelioma Awareness Day page 6
  2. 2. | Freephone 0800 358 3848 Contents 1 Andrew Morgan recovers damages for mesothelioma sufferer from California 2 Client settles case against multinational oil company for exposure to asbestos 3 Widow recovers substantial damages after her husband was exposed to asbestos after making fire doors for Austins of East Ham Limited in 1960’s 4 Compensation for widow of former lorry driver of Express Lifts 5 Caroline Pinfold recovers compensation for the family of a former engineer 5 Compensation awarded to family of boiler scaler who suffered from lung cancer 6 Fieldfisher supports Guy’s and St Thomas’ 6 Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme awarded just weeks after first instruction 7 Cape asbestos factory compensates worker for lung cancer 7 Diffuse mesothelioma scheme payment for Colin Delph 8 Mesothelioma Act payments begin 8 Substantial damages recovered from Kitsons and British Rail 8 Insurers had unfair advantage in compensation scheme 9 Meet the team Peter Williams Partner t: 020 7861 4825 Ranked No 1 For Industrial Disease Litigation Chambers, 2013 At Fieldfisher we understand what a difficult time patients and their families will be going through when there is a diagnosis of an asbestos related disease. We produce this newsletter to give you an insight into the work that we do so that you can see what can be achieved. Our clients are people who have the right to compensation for a terrible illness which they have contracted through no fault of their own, but through the negligence and lack of care of their employers and others. We have recovered over £200 million for our clients and concluded over 2,500 successful cases. Our lawyers are renowned for their expertise, their commitment and the care they take in such sensitive situations. The three partners here each have over 20 years experience in acting almost exclusively for clients suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases. In that time our work has been at the forefront of developments in the law. We have been instrumental in changing the law for the benefit of victims both at Government level and through cases in the House of Lords. Cases conducted by our partners have resulted in changes to the law to allow hospices to recover the cost of looking after mesothelioma patients from those who we sue on their behalf. You will see from some of the cases in this issue that there are many different circumstances our clients encounter and we cater for them all. We deal with things very quickly, with minimal fuss and disruption, allowing clients to concentrate on the more important business of enjoying time with their families. You only have to read the quotes from our clients and from the independent legal directories to know that we work quickly and compassionately to win the best settlements that our clients deserve. Please take the time to read on and find out what we can achieve for you and your family. Please call us on freephone 0800 358 3848. We would be happy to speak to you about your claim. Peter Williams Head of Asbestos Claims Team Welcome to the Autumn 2014 edition of Asbestos News
  3. 3. Caring for our clients | Commitment to our cases | Cutting edge expertise 1 Neville says: Once it became clear that the greatest likelihood of my asbestos exposure had been in the UK 50 or more years ago [my US attorneys] put me in touch with the UK law firm Fieldfisher. I am extremely grateful for that recommendation which has turned out very successfully despite what I consider must have been a very difficult case given the large amount of elapsed time between the exposure and the filing of the law suit. The lawyer at Fieldfisher handling my case has been Andrew Morgan. He has been outstandingly persistent and vigilant in pursuing the case against my former employer…I enthusiastically endorse his professionalism and work ethic. Andrew Morgan recovers damages for mesothelioma sufferer from California Andrew was able to take instructions from Neville by Skype. He advised there was good evidence of negligence and set about tracing the employer. Happily Andrew found that the company still existed and traded, although it had changed its name, and found that it had insurance coverage. He made a claim for Neville’s past and future losses of earnings, for the injury itself and for the private healthcare and Medicare costs. The Defendants denied liability so Andrew Neville Holt was born, raised and educated in England. He obtained a degree in chemistry from Cambridge University in 1957 and began his career as a chemical engineer with APV near Gatwick, Surrey. His early tasks included building scale model pilots of chemical plants out of glass and metal components. In order to maintain critical temperatures the apparatus had to be properly insulated and for this purpose Neville and his colleagues used sectional lagging and flexible insulation sheets which he cut to size and shape. Where possible these materials were re-used each time that the test apparatus was dismantled. In this way, for a period of about 4 or 5 years, Neville was exposed to asbestos. Not long after this, in the early 1960s, Neville moved to the USA where he has remained and where he has pursued his career and has raised a family. Neville was still working when, at age 75, he began having problems with his breathing. He underwent various investigations, funded initially by his workplace healthcare insurance, until, sadly, he was diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma. Neville could not recall asbestos exposure except for his exposure in England in his early career. He did not know whether that employer still existed or how to go about making a claim. He contacted a specialist mesothelioma attorney in California, where he now lives, who recommended Andrew Morgan. issued court proceedings. At the first court hearing the Defendants said the exposure was so early that it could be argued the employer need not have appreciated there was any risk of injury and so the Court listed the case for a full trial. Andrew disclosed documents showing that handling sectional lagging gave rise to substantial quantities of airborne asbestos. At that point he negotiated a settlement of £300,000.
  4. 4. | Freephone 0800 358 38482 At the end of the case, Mr M wrote to Dushal about his handling of the case: “ I would like to thank you for helping us through our claim against my old employers. It was a trying time for everyone but you and your associates were always very considerate and kind.” Dushal was instructed to bring a claim for Mr M who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mr M was an ex merchant seaman. After his time at sea he held a variety of jobs including managerial positions in banks, working as a consultant at the National Maritime Museum and a clerical officer for HM Revenue and Customs. In the early years he spent a considerable period of time in the merchant navy as a chief deck officer. Mr M was married and had grown up children. His wife was still working as a lawyer at the time of his diagnosis. When Dushal went to see Mr M at his home, Mr M was clear and concise about the one time he recalled being exposed to asbestos. Between 1976 and 1982, Mr M was employed by a multinational oil company as a deck officer on various ships operating on the North Sea oil trade routes. Amongst other vessels, he worked on the ‘Aberdeen’ and the ‘Warwickshire’. Mr M provided Dushal with his seaman’s discharge book which detailed the various vessels he worked on. Dushal was also able to obtain the missing seaman’s records from the Lloyds Shipping Register. On one occasion in about 1978/79, Mr M was in the course of his work serving on board one of the vessels on route between Southampton and the Brent spar oil storage buoy in the North Sea. In the southern North Sea the vessel’s high pressure turbine became defective and over a period of about 6 hours a number of members of the crew including Mr M were required to remove insulation from Merchant seaman recovers damages for 6 hour exposure to asbestos pipes and turbine casings in the engine room of the vessel. The work was done using cutting tools, hammers and chisels and the insulation was pulled off by hand and placed in bags. The insulation was up to 12 inches thick. The work was done in an enclosed engine room without ventilation or protective respiratory devices. Mr M was required to help out with the removal of the insulation as it was an emergency situation. This was not part of his duties as a deck officer. He was also given assurances by the vessel’s chief engineer that it was not blue asbestos and that it was safe to work/handle. This was the only time that Mr M recalled coming into contact with asbestos. Shortly after meeting with Mr M, Dushal obtained supportive medical evidence. The leading medical expert in the field of asbestos disease, Dr R M Rudd concluded that the insulation was likely to be brown asbestos and the exposure over the 6 hours was likely to have increased Mr M’s risk of developing mesothelioma above the risk to the general population. The multinational oil company did not produce any evidence to defend the claim however, they did want to ask Mr M some questions about the exposure on the vessel and also ask him to comment on some of the entries made in his medical records. They did
  5. 5. Caring for our clients | Commitment to our cases | Cutting edge expertise 3 Caroline recovered compensation for a widow whose husband was exposed to asbestos making fire doors for Austins of East Ham Limited. Mr G did not know where he had been exposed to asbestos when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2012. Caroline visited him in hospital and whilst helping him to complete the applications for government benefits it emerged that he had been exposed to asbestos when working for a joinery company that made fire doors between 1964 and 1966. He had not cut any asbestos materials himself but had been in the same area as other people doing this and the dust had been widespread. No one had been provided with any sort of protection from the asbestos dust at the factory. The company had been dissolved but Caroline traced the relevant insurers. It was not possible to complete the claim during Mr G’s lifetime but it was successfully completed on behalf of his widow. The money will provide her with financial security for the future although nothing will compensate her for the loss of her husband of over 50 years. The compensation also included £7,506 on behalf of the local hospice who provided care to Mr G in respect of his mesothelioma. Widow recovers substantial damages after her husband was exposed to asbestos when making fire doors for Austins of East Ham Limited in 1960’s not dispute Mr M’s diagnosis or that the emergency situation occurred on that vessel but they did wish to clarify the circumstances of the exposure in that emergency situation and also clarify some of the medical notes. Unfortunately, there were a number of medical records which incorrectly reflected the information that Mr M had given to his doctors and consultants about his asbestos exposure. From the time that Mr M was being investigated for his illness and from the first time that it was suggested to him that he may have an asbestos disease, he had always maintained that he could only recall one occasion when he was exposed to asbestos. However, this information had been incorrectly recorded in various medical entries. Some of those entries gave the impression that Mr M may have been exposed elsewhere either in the merchant navy or in other employment. This resulted in the Defendant wanting to take Mr M’s evidence. Dushal immediately issued court proceedings and within a very short period of time Dushal arranged for Mr M’s evidence to be taken at his home. Mr M provided a clear account of the emergency situation on board the vessel and the way he was exposed to asbestos for those 6 hours. He also confirmed what he had said to the various consultants and doctors throughout his investigations. After Mr M had given his evidence, a transcript and video recording was sent to the Judge for him to consider prior to the hearing which Dushal had arranged soon after Mr M’s evidence had been taken. At that hearing, the Judge was satisfied that Mr M had proved his case and as the Defendant did not have any evidence to put forward he entered judgment in Mr M’s favour with the level of damages to be assessed at a future hearing. Shortly after the hearing, Dushal was able to settle Mr M’s claim for damages in the sum of £160,000. Despite the difficulties with the Defendant and the need for Mr M’s evidence to be taken at his home, Dushal was still able to resolve Mr M’s claim within 6 months. The damages allowed Mrs M to take a break from her job to spend time with and care for her husband. Unfortunately, following the diagnosis Mr M was not able to enjoy the many pastimes that he had particularly sailing. Mr and Mrs M had a boat which they sailed regularly. As a result of the illness, Mr M had to employ others to maintain his boat and was having to consider selling it.
  6. 6. | Freephone 0800 358 38484 that they had some further information about Mr W’s previous employment and where he may have come into contact with asbestos. They had spoken to some of Mr W’s previous friends and work colleagues who had attended the funeral. They recalled Mr W working in the lift industry and particularly for a company called Express Lifts in the 1980’s and 1990’s. During his time with this company he was employed as a lorry driver. He was one of only two lorry drivers that the company employed. Unfortunately, the other driver could not be traced but Mr W’s colleagues who worked for Express Lifts as engineers were able to recall him working for the company. They were also able to provide statements to confirm that Mr W would have to attend various sites and collect and clear away old redundant lifts and component parts and bring them back to the company yard or take them to the scrap yard. The witnesses confirmed that whilst Dushal was instructed to bring a claim by Mr W who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Unfortunately, at the time that Mr W contacted Dushal he was extremely unwell and found it difficult to recall how he was exposed to asbestos. He had worked for a number of companies predominantly in the building industry but also latterly in the lift industry. As Mr W was unable to recall where he was exposed to asbestos Dushal completed the government application forms for Mr W and he was able to obtain a lump sum payment from the government (for his diagnosis) and a weekly benefit as he believed that his condition had been caused by his previous work (even though he could not pinpoint where he was exposed and how). Mr W then sadly died of his condition. Mr W’s family then contacted Dushal sometime after the death to advise Compensation for widow of former lorry driver of Express Lifts they worked for the company as engineers they were aware that the component parts of the old lifts comprised of asbestos material. They were old and in poor condition and in the course of Mr W clearing away and collecting the materials from the various sites he would have come into contact with asbestos. Mr W would have been required to lift and carry the asbestos materials and even the asbestos dust and fibres which were not inhaled would still settle on open surfaces and on the bed of the lorry. Mr W would not have been given a mask to wear and the witnesses were able to confirm that they themselves did not receive any training about the dangers of asbestos and therefore it was unlikely that Mr W would have been given such advice. Dushal brought a claim against the company that took over from Express Lifts namely, Otis. Dushal had previously successfully pursued Otis for other mesothelioma sufferers. Proceedings were issued in the High Court and Dushal managed to obtain supportive medical evidence. This was despite the fact that there were a number of difficulties in that Mr W had in his medical records advised his doctor that he thought he contracted the condition from working in demolition and in the building trade and furthermore the fact that the exposure occurred only 15-20 years before Mr W started suffering with the illness. The latency period (i.e. the period between the exposure and the onset of the illness) is generally considered to be between 30-50 years. There are however conflicting views on this whereby some medical experts will accept that exposure which occurred 15 years prior to the onset of the disease can be considered to be causative of the condition. In Mr W’s case Dushal was able to obtain a supportive medical report to say that the exposure with the lift company was likely to have caused Mr W’s illness. After proceedings were issued and prior to the initial hearing, Dushal was able to secure an admission of liability from Otis and the case has recently settled for the benefit of Mr W’s bereaved wife.
  7. 7. Caring for our clients | Commitment to our cases | Cutting edge expertise 5 Michael’s daughter Tina said: “We were thankful and grateful for Peter Williams’ kind and expert approach to my Dads case. My Dad would have been pleased that my Mums financial future has been secured.” Caroline Pinfold recovers compensation for the family of a former engineer Caroline has recovered compensation for the family of a former engineer who died from mesothelioma. Maurice Kelly was a very knowledgeable engineer and in later life became a technical author. He spent most of his career as an engineer in the Merchant Navy and also worked as chief engineer for Shoreham Harbour Trustees, where he was exposed to asbestos. He worked at Shoreham on a steam driven dredger and was especially exposed to asbestos when replacing the asbestos packing around the boiler. There was also asbestos lagging on various steam pipes. This was “open” lagging that was not covered with any protective layer. Maurice was born in July 1931 and until March 2011 had no serious health problems whatsoever. He became severely breathless and was diagnosed with mesothelioma shortly after that. Sadly he passed away as a result of this in August 2011. His daughter and granddaughter cared for him during his last illness before he was admitted to St Barnabas Hospice. The cost of the hospice care was recovered as part of the compensation by the family. Maurice Kelly Before he contracted mesothelioma he was very active, cycling regularly, and would carry out DIY work at home and for members of his family. He was very skilful at restoring and repairing a wide variety of things. His son unfortunately had a partial amputation of his right leg, and as a result of complications had over 100 operations and 13 amputations on the same leg. His son lives an independent adult life but Maurice used to help him a great deal and they shared many interests. He used to take his son to many hospital appointments and on outings in addition to doing work in his home and garden. His son has completed the book on steam road coaches that his father was working on when he became ill with mesothelioma. It should be published next year. The previous books were on technical matters including steam wagons, Russian cars, American traction engines, steam aircraft, and beam engines. partly caused by his extensive exposure to asbestos. He continued to act on behalf of his widow, Paula and obtained compensation of £66,000 for the family against 11 of the ship repairing companies shortly after proceedings were served. risk that a smoker will suffer lung cancer by 400%. Michael instructed Peter Williams to pursue a claim against the ship repairers in January 2013. Michael would have had three years from the date he was first told he was suffering from lung cancer to issue proceedings at Court against his former employers and to stop time running Peter immediately issued proceedings in the High Court against 12 ship repairing firms including Harland Wolff, Royal Mail Lines Limited, J Russell Shipbuilders Limited, W Badger Limited, the London Scaling Company Limited and J Hayes Co. Sadly, Michael died shortly thereafter. Peter was able to obtain medical evidence to show that Michael’s lung cancer was Compensation awarded to family of boiler scaler who suffered from lung cancer Michael O’Shea worked as a boiler scaler on the London Docks between 1955 and 1970. He worked for almost all of the ship repair firms on a casual basis for short periods of between a few days and a few weeks. He was constantly exposed to asbestos dust working alongside laggers stripping asbestos based lagging from pipe work and mixing it up to replace with new. In January 2011 he contracted lung cancer. He assumed the lung cancer was caused by his smoking until he was advised by Professor Jeremy Steele at Barts Hospital that his substantial exposure to asbestos could have contributed to his cancer. Heavy exposure to asbestos increases the
  8. 8. | Freephone 0800 358 38486 alongside other legal firms, mesothelioma patients and their supporters, bringing cakes and marketing materials to raise awareness and to collect donations. This all goes to help fund the Support Group and its on-going work with patients, who are suffering from mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural thickening and other asbestos related diseases. Over £300 was raised on the day which will be used to help increase further awareness. Fieldfisher supports Guy’s and St Thomas’ Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme awarded just weeks after first instruction Fieldfisher were proud to take part in the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Mesothelioma and Asbestos Support Group’s cake sale. The aim was to raise money for the Support Group and to increase public awareness of mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases. Advocates on the day included Rachel Thomas, Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist from Guys Hospital and Andrew Morgan, Partner in Fieldfisher’s Mesothelioma Claims Department. Other members of Fieldfisher’s Mesothelioma Claims Department also attended, given a mask or other protection and was not given any warnings about the dangers of working with asbestos. But it was dusty work which gave rise to visible quantities of dust in the air. Alan developed a troubling cough whilst taking a Caribbean cruise in December 2013. He went to see his doctor and was referred to hospital for further investigation. In May 2014 he was given the diagnosis of mesothelioma and in June he instructed Andrew Morgan to make a claim. Andrew went to see Alan at home to take his statement and he ascertained quickly that the employer was no longer available to be sued. He searched for insurance details using the Employers Liability Tracing Office (ELTO) and other resources. When he was satisfied that there were no insurers to pursue Andrew filed a claim on Alan’s behalf with the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS). Looking at the statement that Andrew had prepared for him, DMPS were satisfied firstly that Alan had been exposed as a result of his employer’s negligence and secondly that there were no insurers to be found. As a result they made a substantial award to Alan in August, just two months after he first contacted Andrew. Hampshire man Alan Keats was aged 15 when he started work for Studdard and Currie Ltd, a firm of painters and decorators of Hill Lane, Southampton, in 1962. He was employed by them to work at various factories in the Southampton area including the Pirelli factories in Eastleigh, in Bishopstoke and in Southampton itself. In these factories Pirelli manufactured various different types of electric cabling and wiring, from very fine telephone wires up to “three-phase” mains electric cables that are laid in the street. Alan worked for Studdard and Currie for six or seven years. The company ceased trading many years ago. Alan worked at these factories regularly. Sometimes he was there for just a day or two but on some jobs he was there for up to a month or more. Overall he spent about half his time working in one or other of the Pirelli factories and half his time working elsewhere. Alan had to paint lagged pipework in the boiler houses. He had to prepare the surfaces by sanding the pipework down using glass paper. Although he would spend one or two hours at a time doing this, Alan was not Hampshire’s Alan Keats
  9. 9. Caring for our clients | Commitment to our cases | Cutting edge expertise 7 and thoracotomy. He also undertook chemotherapy. Mr L instructed Dushal to bring a claim for him against Cape. Despite Mr L having a long history of smoking and even though he was exposed to asbestos for a relatively short period of time, Dushal was still able to obtain supportive medical evidence which attributed his lung cancer to his previous asbestos exposure as opposed to his smoking. The medical expert concluded that Mr L would not have developed lung cancer if he had not been exposed to asbestos. Dushal was able to obtain a substantial settlement for Mr L without the need for Court proceedings. Dushal was instructed to bring a claim for Mr L following his diagnosis with lung cancer. Mr L had previously worked at the notorious Cape Asbestos factory on Harts Lane in Barking. Mr L was only employed by Cape for a period of 6 months in 1963 and 1964. During that time, he worked as a general labourer and his tasks included unloading asbestos from lorries and barges. He only wore a very basic dust mask and was not warned of the dangers of inhaling asbestos. Mr L was required to unload asbestos on most days and on some occasions there was asbestos cargo coming into the factory twice a day. He unloaded both blue and white asbestos which came in hessian sacks which often ripped open causing asbestos dust to be everywhere. Mr L also had to transport smaller sacks of asbestos from the factory floor to the loading stages outside. After Mr L left the Cape factory he did not come into contact with asbestos. He continued working well into his 60’s and enjoyed an active lifestyle. In 2011, he started feeling unwell and developed a cough. He underwent investigations for a number of years and was eventually diagnosed with lung cancer. Mr L underwent a bronchoscopy Cape asbestos factory compensates worker for lung cancer Cape asbestos facility in Barking Diffuse mesothelioma scheme payment for Colin Delph Colin Delph was exposed to asbestos when working as an apprentice carpenter for a company in King’s Lynn, Norfolk between 1965 and 1967. The exposure was at two schools in that area: St James Boys School, which is now Greyfriars in London Road, King’s Lynn where he had to saw up asbestos ceiling tiles and also bevel the edges with a plane, and at Gaywood Park Secondary Modern School when the boiler and heating system were being renewed. Colin’s employer at the time no longer exists and no insurance could be traced. The Administrators of the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme agreed he was eligible and paid the tariff rate for his age to him. Colin received this money during his lifetime. The Government brought in regulations to establish a new Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme under the Mesothelioma Act 2014. The regulations allowed the Government to establish such a scheme for the purpose of making payments to eligible people with diffuse mesothelioma and also to eligible dependents of those who have died with diffuse mesothelioma. The scheme started on 1st July 2014.
  10. 10. | Freephone 0800 358 38488 The new DMPS scheme to make a payment in late August. This Scheme is to be welcomed because it provides substantial payments to many mesothelioma sufferers who would otherwise receive nothing other than the much smaller Government lump sum payment. But the Scheme is not a complete answer: it only pays about 80% of the average amount that a court would award; the Scheme only applies to those exposed in work, so that “overalls” cases are excluded; it only applies where the diagnosis was made after July 2012; some people diagnosed after July 2012 received no payment because they were unable to make an application before they passed, leaving no qualifying relatives; it does not cover lung cancer, asbestosis or other serious industrial diseases. Mesothelioma Act Payments Begin In April 2014 the Mesothelioma Act allowed the Secretary of State to set up the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme, a scheme to provide payments in some cases where insurers cannot be found. The Scheme started taking applications in April and started making payments in July so we now have some experience of the way the Scheme operates in practice. We have seen that once the DMPS has all the information it needs (a statement from the applicant, the schedule of employment history from HMRC, proper confirmation of diagnosis) the Scheme will make a payment quickly. As an example, we submitted an application for Alan Keats in late June and DMPS agreed Barrie Carrington was exposed to asbestos when employed by Kitsons Insulation Company Limited in the 1960s. He mixed up powdered asbestos insulation material with water to form a paste and used this to cover boilers. He also cut sheets of asbestos to cover boilers. In the same period he also worked at Parkeston Quay in the scaling gang on ships that were owned by British Rail. He worked in the engine rooms of the ships where he had to remove old asbestos lagging, and again mix up powdered asbestos lagging. He also made mats stuffed with asbestos for use on the ships. All of this work exposed Barrie to large amounts of asbestos dust and he was diagnosed as having mesothelioma as a result of these exposures in June 2013. Caroline Pinfold successfully pursued Barrie’s claim for compensation for mesothelioma against these employers and this was dealt with during his lifetime. Substantial damages recovered from Kitsons and British Rail The Scheme also includes a fixed amount to go towards legal costs. In some cases this contribution will be sufficient to cover costs in full. In more complex cases, where the actual legal costs exceed this contribution, we at Fieldfisher will limit our costs to the contribution provided by the Scheme so there is no shortfall for the client to pay. That commitment is written into our Conditional Fee Agreements. The Government and insurers set up the scheme and provided funds for it only after persistent campaigning by victims’ groups, trade unions, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyer (APIL) and claimant law firms including Fieldfisher. The existence of the Scheme shows that, together, when we have the will we can make a difference. A parliamentary investigation has found that insurers were given preferential treatment when steps were taken to set up a Mesothelioma compensation scheme designed to help families of those killed by exposure to asbestos. The Justice Select Committee was able to reveal that the Government had made a secret pact with the insurance lobby before they had decided how much compensation should be paid out to victims and their families. Due to the time lag between exposure to asbestos and developing mesothelioma, which is usually around 30 to 40 years, it has often proved exceedingly difficult to track down the insurer of an employer to get the compensation required. The scheme is designed to cater for those situations where an insurer cannot be traced when mesothelioma is diagnosed. Currently under the rules of the scheme, claimants will receive 80% of the average settlement. Dushal Mehta, Senior Associate with the Mesothelioma Claims team at Fieldfisher says: “This investigation confirms what many victims,support groups andClaimant lawyers have suspected for some time.There was a lack of transparency from the very outset with little input fromany otherinterested party.The government made uptheir mind as tohow the scheme was towork andthe levelof payments tobe made at a very early stage.They (and the insurance industry) failed totake on board the concerns and issues raised by andon behalf of the victims of this terrible disease.We hope that the government willnow dothe right thing and disclose the document tothe inquiry andother interested parties.” Insurers had unfair advantage in compensation scheme
  11. 11. Caring for our clients | Commitment to our cases | Cutting edge expertise 9 The team Peter is head of the group. He has specialised in asbestos-related disease claims for 20 years and he gives annual talks to solicitors on the issues. The legal 500 recommends him as a leading personal injury lawyer who is “universally respected, and superb with clients”. Alice trained at Fieldfisher and joined the Industrial Disease Department in 2013 having previously worked in the department as a paralegal and trainee. She specialises in cases arising out of asbestos related disease including mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and pleural thickening. Dushal specialises in asbestos disease cases, with specific expertise in mesothelioma claims. He joined the firm in 2009 and is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. He has developed a reputation for securing early settlements in high profile cases. Andrew has specialised in asbestos disease claims since 1993. He is a past coordinator of the Occupational Health Group of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is an APIL fellow. The Legal 500 describes Andrew as “clever, hardworking and respected by opponents”. Caroline has specialised in asbestos disease claims for over 25 years. She is a Trustee of the East London Mesothelioma Support Group (ELMS). She is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Chambers, a leading legal directory states she is “incredibly hard working, has an eye for detail and fights very hard for her clients”. Peter Williams Head of Asbestos Team e: t: 020 7861 4825 Andrew Morgan Partner e: t: 020 7861 4036 Dushal Mehta Senior Associate e: t: 020 7861 4033 Caroline Pinfold Partner e: t: 020 7861 4022 Alice Ketteringham Solicitor e: t: 020 7861 4553 Meet the team
  12. 12. Freephone 0800 358 3848 Riverbank House 2 Swan Lane London EC4R 3TT Email: