October 23, 2023

Compensation recovered for family of former carpenter following death from mesothelioma

Posted in Mesothelioma

Malcolm Lenihan worked as a carpenter all his life. After leaving school, he commenced an apprenticeship with Tersons Limited in 1965. He worked for the company for 4 years on various contracts around London.

Malcolm was learning the carpentry trade and worked alongside qualified carpenters who showed him what to do. As an apprentice, Malcolm did lots of labouring, fetching and carrying, cutting and sweeping up. After a year or so, he began doing more skilled work including assisting with hanging doors, installing skirting boards and window frames. He also worked alongside a number of other trades including brick layers, plumbers, heating engineers, floor layers and decorators.

One job Malcolm carried out frequently was boxing in pipework, using asbestos sheeting. The sheeting was cut to size, drilled and screwed into place. This created a lot of dust, to which he breathed in. He was not provided with any breathing protection nor warned of the dangers of asbestos. Malcolm worked on a number of sites including a new housing estate near Lee High Road in Lewisham, the refurbishment of a Debenhams store in Croydon and on Pepys Estate in Deptford.

He transferred to work for JS Curtis & Sons and later worked for a contractor called Joe Croce doing similar work, followed by a long career in the trade, later working on a self employed basis, but without exposure to asbestos.

Malcom was very skilled at what he did and in his later life completely refurbished the cottage him and his wife Jean bought. He was enjoying leading a full and active retirement when he became unwell in 2020 in the first wave of the covid-19 pandemic, and was sadly diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2020. Following his diagnosis, Malcolm contact Jennifer Seavor, a Partner in our team who visited him and Jean at home and took a detailed statement from his regarding his exposure.

Tersons Limited was no longer trading but we were able to trace their former insurers to direct the claim to. Unfortunately, no insurance could be traced for JS Curtis & Sons or Joe Croce.

A letter of claim was sent to the insurers of Tersons Limited and they were provided with a copy of Malcolm’s witness statement. However, his condition deteriorated and he sadly died in June 2021 before his claim concluded but Jean carried on with the proceedings knowing that had been Malcolm’s wish.

Further supportive witness evidence was obtained in support of the claim and provided to the insurers of Tersons Limited. Shortly after breach of duty was admitted and an interim payment of damages was subsequently made. Steps were then taken to value the claim and the parties entered into negotiations and the claim concluded for a sum over £200,000 including a significant sum for St Wilfred's Hospice who supported Malcom at the end of his life.

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