Mr Peter Darby’s late wife died on 20 January 2005 after a rapid decline, having been diagnosed with mesothelioma in July 2004. She suffered from April 2004 with increasing breathlessness but sadly deteriorated dramatically and developed further severe symptoms including pulmonary embolisms before dying early in 2005.
Mrs Darby had exposure to asbestos in two ways. Firstly, she was exposed to dust and fibres carried home on Mr Darby’s clothing from his employment as a carpenter with Wates Ltd, builders, in London between 1965 and 1972.
Secondly, Mrs Darby had her own business cleaning new houses for sale in the 1970s and 80s. This included clearing up spilled Artex which was often used on the ceilings of the houses and at that time contained asbestos.
It was necessary to identify trace Wates and the numerous house building companies which employed Mrs Darby as a contractor on various sites in the South East.
Medical evidence was prepared and witness evidence from Mr Darby and a former employee of Mrs Darby’s was obtained.
A claim was issued against Wates and seven of the companies which operated sites where Mrs Darby worked. Ultimately, the claim against the house builders arising from exposure to Artex was not pursued, but judgment was obtained against Wates.
The court dealt with the claim under the expedited mesothelioma procedure adopted in the High Court in London. When judgment was entered an interim payment was ordered in favour of Mr Darby and the claim was ultimately settled by negotiation.
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