Daughter Of Asbestos Victim Wins Battle For Justice

Expert Delighted With Court Decision

23.03.2011

A Leeds woman has won her two-and-a-half year battle for justice after a court ruled her mother was exposed to deadly asbestos dust while working at a West Yorkshire scrap metal dealer.

Vera Booth, from Kippax, Leeds, died aged 87 on 8 May 2009, after contracting the terminal lung cancer mesothelioma as a result of being exposed to asbestos while working for Morley Waste Traders Ltd, up until 1981 when she retired.

Her daughter, Shirley Cherrington, 71, turned to industrial illness experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell for support in seeking justice, as her mother’s employers refused to accept responsibility for their actions. Morley Waste Traders denied Mrs Booth was exposed to asbestos at the company, forcing the family through two-and-a-half years of reliving the pain and suffering that their mother suffered – as well as the trauma of having to go through a trial.

Now Mrs Cherrington has won her battle for justice after a judge at Leeds County Court ruled that her mother was exposed to asbestos during her 40 years working at the site, latterly operated by the company, and that this exposure caused her to develop mesothelioma later in her life.

Ben Mitchell, an industrial illness specialist at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds, who represented Mrs Booth’s family, said: “I am delighted the court has found in favour of Mrs Cherrington. Having heard the evidence from the directors of Morley Waste Traders, the court was left with little option other than to conclude that Mrs Booth was exposed to significant amounts of asbestos dust through no fault of her own.

“She worked in the same place on Lock Lane, Castleford for more than 40 years, doing hard, poorly paid work to support her family, and simply could not have contracted the illness anywhere else.

“Asbestos is the biggest occupational killer of all time and its impact is made much worse by the fact that so many people have suffered serious health problems due to the failure of employers to adequately acknowledge the dangers. It is important to stress that this case is not about the money, it has always been about getting answers and assurances that the management of asbestos is now taken seriously in the workplace.”

Mrs Booth worked as a waste materials sorter at the firm, a job which involved sorting and clearing out industrial rags and materials contaminated with asbestos dust. The court also heard evidence that she had been required to sort out other asbestos contaminated industrial waste. Despite this, Morley Waste Traders Ltd failed to provide her with a face mask or advise her of the dangers of breathing in the deadly dust. 

Mrs Cherrington was satisfied with the result and said: “Justice has been done, and whilst the damages may go some way to righting the wrong, I would happily give the money back and more, to have my mother still here.

“It has been upsetting the way the company responded to the claim. They admitted in court that they recalled my mother as being a loyal and helpful employee, yet steadfastly refused to admit that it was their actions, or lack of, that had caused her awful suffering and led to her death.”

Morley Waste Traders were ordered to pay Mrs Cherrington substantial damages plus her legal costs.