May 6, 2016

Claim for mesothelioma for 51 year old ex-cellarman with pre-existing multiple sclerosis settled for over £150,000

He had no obvious exposure to asbestos but described working as a cellarman for Chef & Brewer Limited, the owners of the Prince’s Tavern in Norwich. He described receiving deliveries, changing barrels, cleaning out beer pipes, running new beer lines through from the bar into the cellar and also considerable renovation works. He believed that all of these activities brought him into contact with what was probably asbestos in the cellar area and other parts of the pub. He was never given any warnings about the presence of asbestos or any respiratory protection. The other members of the pub staff were not allowed into the upstairs restaurant area when the renovations were being carried out, but Mr P was instructed to go into the restaurant and tidy up. He bagged up bits of partition wall, counter tops, ceiling tiles and swept up the debris. He was doing this while the building workers were working all around.

He also remembered them installing air conditioning throughout the pub which involved cutting through walls and into ceilings. This was also incredibly dusty.

The pub stayed open while these works were being carried out.

We started court proceedings and default judgment was entered for the Claimant as the Defendants had not responded to the service of the Court papers. They did not seek to set the judgment aside.

In mesothelioma claims the normal Court Order is for an immediate interim payment on account of the client’s claim once judgment is entered in the sum of £50,000. In this case Mr P had, with our assistance, applied for and received a lump sum from the Government under the Pneumoconiosis Workers Compensation Scheme which amounted to over £60,000 as the Claimant was so young. The Defendants’ solicitors argued that it would be wrong to give him £50,000 on the top of the £60,000 he had already received because that would risk him being in “negative equity” when it came to settle his claim.

Mr P was then faced with the agonising decision about the timing of settlement of his claim. He could have chosen to settle his claim personally, during his lifetime, or for his wife to settle his claim after his death which normally results in a higher payment of compensation. He elected for the higher compensation payment.

His claim was therefore put on hold pending his inevitable death. Mr P died in Summer 2015, and his claim was settled in Spring 2016 for over £150,000 from which the Government was able to recoup the lump sum and other benefits he received. After the settlement his widow said, "Your hard work is very much appreciated. Thank you for being on our side. You’re amazing".

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