Asbestos warning sign

Mesothelioma compensation recovered for shop worker

Compensation recovered for a former shop worker and cashier at the old Marks and Spencer Store in Folkestone who contracted mesothelioma from working in close vicinity to building works being carried out there which included asbestos.

The asbestos and chemical poisoning team demonstrated their expertise when they recently recovered damages for a lady who developed mesothelioma. The case settled for an undisclosed 6 figure award plus legal costs.

At age 38 in 1971, Mrs Hughes started working for Marks and Spencer as a shop assistant/cashier in the food section of their Sandgate Road store on Folkestone. Thereafter renovation works to extend the store to build offices in the roof space were undertaken. Mrs Hughes described the presence of scaffolding and the works being carried out directly above the shop floor. While the works did not interfere with the shop floor, staff there had no option but to walk past the works to get to the canteen, toilets and stock room on the floors above. Mrs Hughes walked past the activities being undertaken as part of the renovations many times each day. Mrs Hughes left Marks and Spencer in 1987, age 54.

Unbeknown to the staff, asbestos was being used as part of the renovation works at the Sandgate Road store. Mrs Hughes was therefore exposed to airborne asbestos dust which she inhaled every time she walked past when it was being used, or being swept up. No protective equipment was ever supplied and there were no warnings given that any dangerous substances were being used.

Mrs Hughes was diagnosed with epithelioid malignant mesothelioma in October 2007. She had worked in no other environments where asbestos was present. Mrs Hughes became aware locally that there were issues with the old store when the subsequent owners had to delay opening their own store because asbestos had been found.

Following the delivery of our letter of claim to Marks and Spencer with a request for disclosure of asbestos reports, surveys, records, plans, asbestos health & safety records or evaluations, correspondence with any asbestos removal company, documentation relating to the location and removal of asbestos and documentation relating to the extension works, liability was admitted. Thereafter a full value settlement of her compensation claim was negotiated. Mrs Hughes died some months afterwards.

Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP specialises in industrial disease cases. If you would like to ask our team a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Jonathan Herbert at Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP solicitors on 01892 701226 in confidence.

Thomson Snell & Passmore was interviewed by the BBC about this case for a feature in their documentary programme ‘Inside out’ in Spring 2013.

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