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Marks & Spencer have had to pay compensation to a lady who used to work for them after a successful mesothelioma case against them.
The lady was diagnosed with mesothelioma and had worked at the Marks & Spencer store in Reading for 30 years previous to this.
Marks & Spencer were fined over £1m in 2006 for building works they had completed at the Reading store, which carried significant health and safety risks relating to asbestos.
As she worked at the store at this time, the lady realised she may have a case against them, so instructed lawyers to investigate on her behalf.
But when lawyers, Boyes Turner, proceeded to investigate, they were informed by a Consultant Respiratory Physician that the lady’s illness was probably not caused by being exposed to asbestos in 2006 at the time of the building works.
It was not a long enough latency period as mesothelioma symptoms take 20 years or more to develop, meaning she must have been exposed to asbestos earlier than this.
The lawyers would have to prove that the lady was exposed to asbestos while working for Marks & Spencer at a much earlier date.
After some investigation, the lawyers obtained old asbestos health and safety surveys conducted on the Reading store from 2003.
These surveys revealed there was asbestos in the ceiling tiles at the store.
This jogged the lady’s memory and she then remembered other building work that took place in the 1980’s and 1990’s on the shop floor.
She recalled ceiling tiles being disturbed as part of these works and dust being all over the tills.
Eventually, Marks & Spencer ended up admitting liability for the lady’s illness.
This came after they were asked to disclose further asbestos surveys and documents as part of pre-action disclosure.
However, the documents were never actually disclosed and the case was never heard in court due to them accepting liability before the disclosure application was due to take place.
Lawyers obtainined all the necessary evidence, including testimonial from the Consultant Respiratory Physician.
He said that the lady most definitely contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at her place of work at the Marks & Spencer Reading store during the 1980’s and 1990’s,
Although the mesothelioma case was successful, the lady sadly died from her illness before its conclusion.
The money awarded went to her grieving family.
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Published Jul 25, 2018