An ex- mineworker in the UK, who received no warning of the dangers of asbestos while working in the mines for eighteen years, has been awarded mesothelioma cancer compensation amounting to 73,890 pounds (87,000 Euros).
Dennis Ball (92) from Beeston, Nottinghamshire, was employed by the National Coal Board at Sutton and Moorgreen Collieries between 1967 and 1985. It was there, it was alleged in his claim, that he contracted his mesothelioma cancer due to exposure to asbestos fibres and dust.
Mrs Justice Swift at London´s High Court heard that prior to being found on the floor of his flat by his step-son in March 2010, Dennis had been in good general health and had lead an independent, active life. The development of his illness had meant he had to forgo his independent status and live in a care home.
The judge heard that the Department of Energy and Climate Change – who now administer liabilities on behalf of the National Coal Board and British Coal Corporation – admitted that Dennis had probably been given neither warnings about the dangers of exposure to asbestos nor any personal protective equipment for his safety.
Finding in Dennis´ favour, the judge commented that “there is no reason to suppose that he is not experiencing a real fear about the ordeal that may be in store for him, together with distress at the knowledge of his imminent death and its cause. Importantly, however, the onset of illness forced him to leave his home and thus to lose his independence.” She awarded Dennis 73,890 pounds in mesothelioma cancer compensation to account for his suffering, loss of years and loss of amenity.
A man who worked his entire life as a deck hand aboard naval vessels, commercial ships and ferries has been awarded 1.45 million dollars in occupational illness compensation by a jury in Seattle a year after being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer.
Roger Hammett (84) of Maury Island in Puget Sound, Washington, was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in August 2010 after collapsing with breathing difficulties in his garden. His condition had been caused by exposure to asbestos through his sea-faring career particularly, the jury at Kings County District Court heard, while working aboard the SS Seattle – a commercial ferry which ran between Seattle and Kodiak Island in Alaska throughout the sixties.
It was alleged in Roger´s asbestos compensation claim that Sea-Land Service Inc – the ferry company who owned SS Seattle – was in violation of government health regulations in force at the time regarding the handling of and proximity to asbestos. Roger´s lawyer claimed that there was no excuse for Sea-Land Service Inc. to be unaware of the risks associated with exposure to asbestos as so much information was available at the time.
After a trial lasting a week, the Seattle jury found in favour of Roger´s claim for occupational illness compensation, but decided that Sea-Land Service Inc. could only be considered to be 70 per cent liable for his injuries due to Roger´s extensive career working for other companies. Therefore the amount of asbestos compensation was restricted to 1.45 million dollars.
A New York chemist has been awarded 2.5 million dollars in personal injury compensation after being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer due to working with asbestos.
James Ginter of Buffalo, New York, was employed by the Durez Plastics company of North Tonawanda, New York from 1979 as a laboratory chemist. The company produced industrial resins and phenolic moulding compounds for the automobile industry and, as part of his duties, James was required to use a Friction Assessment Screening Test Machine, manufactured by car-maker Ford Motors.
In the process of using this machine, James had to grind experimental friction products used as car brakes – products which contained asbestos, and which produced a visible cloud of asbestos dust while the filing operation was under way. Despite being aware of the harmful effects of asbestos, Ford Motors manufactured this machine without providing any warnings about its use.
After seeking legal advice, James took both the Durez Plastics company and Ford Motors to court, claiming that they were jointly responsible for his incurable condition. After a two week trial at the Erie County Supreme Court, a jury found in favour of James and awarded him 2.5 million dollars, with liability shared between the two defendants.
A Californian man, who contracted mesothelioma cancer after working with brake linings that contained asbestos, has been awarded almost 17.5 million dollars in a compensation package in a court hearing.
Gordon Bankhead (66) of Oakland, California, worked at the Sea-Land Shipping Company – also of Oakland, California – for more than 30 years. During this time, his duties included inspecting the brakes on heavy duty vehicles, and grinding, blowing out and fitting new brakes where necessary.
It was Gordon’s exposure to the asbestos in these brake components, which lead to him being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in March 2010. In the trial against his former employers, evidence was shown to the jury that the Sea-Land Shipping Company was fully aware that asbestos was present in the linings of the brakes, but failed to provide warnings to its customers and employees.
The jury subsequently awarded Gordon and his family a total settlement package of 17,470,000 dollars to compensate him for his economic loss, pain and suffering and punitive damages.
Punk legend and former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLarend died of mesothelioma, an incurable lung cancer that is most commonly associated with prolonged exposure to asbestos particles. It is believed that ceiling of his King’s Road, London, clothes store contained asbestos. Although asbestos is no longer used as a building material, the death of Malcolm McLarend illustrates that asbestos is still an important category of workplace injury claims.