We have recently learned about a mesothelioma claim settlement, which could have far-reaching consequences for claims in the future. Originally, it appeared that the client would not be able to secure justice but this all changed when her Solicitors decided to pursue a product liability mesothelioma claim instead.

The case:

Mr Glyn Francis’ widow pursued the claim after her husband passed away from mesothelioma on 29th November 2012, aged 60. He was exposed to harmful amounts of asbestos in his job as a joiner from 1968 to 1980. In this role, he cut and handled Asbestolux boards.

Originally, it appeared that Mr Francis would not be able to pursue a claim for compensation. This was because:

  • No employer’s liability insurance existed and the company was dissolved.
  • Mr Francis’ widow could not get compensation for a payment scheme normally used in these circumstances (the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments Scheme) because the latest scheme of last resort had not yet come into effect.

The Solicitors argued that Cape and its subsidiaries were fully aware from 1957 onwards that low level exposure to asbestos could cause mesothelioma. Despite this, Cape refused to withdraw Asbestolux from the market and failed to advise others of the terrible risks of using the product. This is despite knowing that the boards released dangerous quantities of asbestos dust when they were cut or handled. Clearly, such decisions and failures are a result of corporate greed. Furthermore, the solicitors argued that, as a member of the Asbestos Information Committee and Asbestosis Research Council, Cape actually promoted and defended the use of asbestos products.

The Outcome:

Mrs Francis received a significant sum of mesothelioma compensation following the tragic loss of her husband. The settlement is said to represent the first successful asbestos product liability claim in the UK. This could open the door to others who find themselves in a similar position to Mrs Francis.

This news follows news received back in March 2017, which stated that a number of different insurers were pursuing asbestos product liability litigation against Cape. In this instance, Cape decided to settle the insurers’ claim without admitting liability. The initial upfront payment of £18 million plus legal costs was paid and a further deferred payment of £34.5 million was agreed.

As of 31st December 2016, Cape’s scheme for dealing with asbestos disease claims still had assets totalling £42 million. They anticipate that successful asbestos litigants will need to be paid far into the future.

How can we help?

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim please contact us today. You can do so by calling our Freephone number on 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to our ‘contact us’ page, complete the form, and we will be in touch.

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