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26 April 2022 | Case Study | Article by Richard Green

Email from deceased gentleman provides crucial evidence in asbestos disease claim against the MOD

Lauren Bull, Solicitor on the specialist asbestos disease team at Hugh James was instructed by the widow of the late Mr Brown following his sad death from mesothelioma at the age of 80.

As Mr Brown had sadly passed away before Hugh James were instructed, unfortunately they were unable to take any witness evidence from Mr Brown himself. Initial investigations revealed that Mr Brown had worked at Devonport Dockyard as an apprentice. His brother-in-law did work there at the same time, although not with Mr Brown, so he was able to provide a general overview of the conditions and extensive use of asbestos at the dockyard.

Prior to Mr Brown passing away, he had told his wife that he was exposed to asbestos whilst working at Devonport Dockyard when the ships were refitted. Mrs Brown was able to find an email that her husband sent to a friend shortly after his diagnosis. Within this email he detailed the fact that he must have developed the condition as a result of his exposure to asbestos at Devonport dockyard, whilst working as a student apprentice from 1957 – 1960. Within the email, Mr Brown confirmed that he undertook refits on steam engines and there was plenty of lagging and no health and safety.

A claim was intimated against the MOD and Hugh James were able to agree settlement for £180,000 gross.

Lauren Bull, Solicitor on the specialist asbestos disease team at Hugh James, said:

Claims in which we are instructed posthumously can be difficult. It takes time to investigate potential sources of exposure and to locate potential supportive evidence witnesses who can confirm how the deceased was exposed to asbestos. In this case, Mr Brown’s brother-in-law was able to provide some initial details about conditions at the Dockyard, but it was the deceased’s email to his friend which provided crucial first hand evidence regarding his asbestos exposure, which ultimately lead to settlement.

Client Testimonials

Mrs Brown said:

Thank you, Lauren, for all your good work in preparing this case for me and my family. You have been so thorough and efficient all the way through. You have explained everything very clearly to me. The process of claiming compensation was made very simple for me by you. All the forms I had to fill in and sign were well explained to me and I did worry about anything. I would just like to thank you very much indeed for all that you have done for me. What a rewarding job you have! You are an asset to Hugh James.

Sister of the late Mr Brown, Sue Pannell said:

My sister-in-law has spoken of you and your assistance in glowing terms and from my perspective 12,000 miles away in Australia, I am very grateful and impressed with what you have done for her. As an Australian public servant of 20 years I can recognise excellent service when I see it! I too am very impressed at the collection of the necessary information, the prompt replies and updates that you have provided and all of this done with empathy and respect.

Author bio

Richard is a Partner and head of the asbestos litigation team. Richard specialises in asbestos-related disease claims and has recovered millions of pounds in compensation for his clients.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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