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North East Dad-Of-Two Suffering From Mesothelioma Takes Battle For Justice To High Court

Expert Lawyers Help Former Council Electrician Get The Answers He Deserves


By Suzanne Rutter

A devastated father-of-two diagnosed with a terminal asbestos-related cancer says he is continuing his battle for justice by commencing High Court proceedings against the former employers he believes are responsible for exposing him to the deadly dust.

David Berry, of Easton, Middleborough in Cleveland, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos dust, in July 2011 after suffering the debilitating symptoms of the incurable illness for seven months. He is now undergoing chemotherapy to ease the pain he is in. He alleges his former employers could have done more to protect him from the asbestos.

Specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office are pursing proceedings in the High Court to help David get the answers he deserves. Any settlement will enable him to pay for his on-going care and provide financial security for his wife Janet and children Michael and Michelle.

The 61-year-old electrician worked for Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, which used to be known as Langbaurgh Borough Council, between 1974 and 1976. His job entailed installing light fittings in council houses and flats across the borough and he would regularly have to drill holes in asbestos-covered ceiling tiles, particularly on the Spencer Beck Estate where there were a lot of dilapidated and vandalised flats that needed renovating.

He was also responsible for removing old electrical wiring from the council properties and had to remove ceiling and wall panels made from asbestos.

Roger Maddocks, an industrial disease expert at Irwin Mitchell representing him, said: “Even in the 1970s employers knew the risks associated with asbestos but yet did not do enough to protect David from the deadly dust. Sadly, he is now paying the price for his employers’ negligence decades ago. It’s only right that those people affected by exposure to asbestos through no fault of their own are entitled to justice from their former employers.

“We hope any settlement will not only provide financial security for him and his family but it will enable him to pay for specialist care to improve his quality of life as he continues to battle mesothelioma.”

David, a grandfather-of-four, first started to show the symptoms of mesothelioma in January 2012 when he developed flu-like symptoms and felt constantly tired. Further tests at the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough in July last year confirmed he was suffering from the incurable cancer. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy to help alleviate the symptoms.

He said: “Coming to terms with the mesothelioma diagnosis has been incredibly difficult and I know my wife and children are really worried about me and are struggling to come to terms with the fact I might not have long left.

“My job as a council electrician was always so dirty and dusty and as I was usually working from the top of a step ladder fixing light fittings, my face always ended up covered in the asbestos dust falling from the ceiling. I couldn’t help but breathe in the deadly dust but the council never warned me how dangerous asbestos could be or provided me with any special equipment of clothing to protect me from the worst of it.

“Mesothelioma is a horrible illness and it’s been extremely unpleasant for me and my family and I believe it’s only right that businesses which exposed people to asbestos without any warnings about how dangerous it could be, or who weren’t provided with any protection, are held to account. I hope the court proceedings will help me secure the funds I need to pay for the care I need and provide for my family in future.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Mesothelioma Compensation Claims.