High Court Rules In Favour Of Chiswick Asbestos Victim

Compensation for daughter who hopes case ‘will help others in future’


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Asbestos victims have welcomed a High Court ruling which allows them, or in the case of Chiswick resident Leslie Screach, his family to claim compensation.

Ruth Durham, whose father Leslie died of mesothelioma after he was negligently exposed to asbestos, was the lead test case during the trial. Mr Screach initially contacted lawyers in April 2003 when he became ill because of the work he had done as a paint sprayer for G & C Whittle Ltd, also based in Chiswick, from 1963 to 1968. Following his death in November 2003 aged 73; Ruth continued the claim on his behalf.

Irwin Mitchell, the firm which represented Mrs Durham, welcomed the judgment saying, "Today's ruling is a real victory for asbestos cancer victims and their families, like Ruth, at the end of what has been a very long and complex trial. Over the summer the Court heard evidence from medical experts from the UK and abroad about the development of mesothelioma, as well as from a number of people who worked in the insurance industry from the 1960's onwards.
"The dangers of exposure to asbestos dust have been known since at least the early part of the last century and today's decision ensures that many mesothelioma victims who were negligently exposed to asbestos by their employers will have the comfort of knowing that they and their families will receive compensation."

Still remembering how her father Leslie’s health deteriorated, Ruth said, “I am hugely relieved to hear of today's court decision, which will see justice done for my father and hundreds of other mesothelioma sufferers now and in the future.

"Dad and I had a very close relationship and were really good friends. During the Second World War, Dad learned to use sign language and when I decided to learn, we used to practise together. It became our special way of communicating with one another and, when he was diagnosed with cancer, he couldn't bring himself to tell me directly and just made the sign for Cancer to let me know the terrible news.

"I miss him every day and no sum of money will ever compensate for the terrible suffering that my father endured. However, I hope that by pursuing this legal action, which will help others in future, it will make his suffering and death more bearable."

November 25, 2008