A Swindon lawyer has won a £200,000 settlement for a woman whose husband died after asbestos exposure and in a case which was only concluded following the discovery of a telephone directory from the 1950s.
Pamela Holliday of Burnham, Slough took legal action against Tretol Group in Canterbury, Kent after her husband, Ralph, died in June 2008. However her husband’s employers initially refused to accept responsibility, claiming Ralph Holliday had never worked for them.
She contacted Swindon lawyer, Brigitte Chandler of law firm, Charles Lucas & Marshall, one of the country’s leading experts on asbestos law, who issued proceedings in the High Court when the Tretol Group refused to answer any correspondence.
“It was only at this stage, when legal proceedings were issued, that the company responded,” says Brigitte Chandler. “They accepted liability and one week before the trial was due to start they agreed to a settlement out of court. This was a great relief to Mrs Holliday and meant court attendance was not necessary.”
Ralph Holliday worked for Tretol Limited at its factory in Buckingham Avenue, Slough between 1951- 54. The company manufactured anti-freeze paints, bitumen and plastics. Mr Holliday was required to handle asbestos which was delivered to the factory in hessian sacks.
“Mr Holliday was asked to weigh out the asbestos and was not given any protective clothing,” says Brigitte Chandler.
Tretol Limited accepted it was in breach of The Factories Act, 1937 and the Asbestos Industry Regulations, 1931. Initially they refused to accept that Mr Holliday had worked for them and claimed he had worked for another company with a similar name.
“However, after much searching, we were able to find a telephone directory from the 1950s which proved to the company Mr Holliday had worked for them,” says Brigitte Chandler. “In the end, we managed to achieve a very good result for Mrs Holliday.
“Unfortunately, many people were exposed to asbestos in factories in the 1950s as it was widely used. We expect the number of people dying from asbestos related cancers to peak in the next few years.”
There is a regional charity to provide support to people suffering from asbestos disease and their families. Free advice can be obtained by writing to the Swindon and South West Asbestos Group, PO Box 2729, Swindon SN1 4ZW or 01793 813616 or email@example.com / Swindon & SouthWest Asbestosgroup Website.
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