Eversheds, acting for Smiths Docks and British Shipbuilders, and Berrymans, acting for construction giant Corus, successfully fought a conjoined appeal against previous decisions awarding damages to the widows of men who had died from the asbestos-related illness mesothelioma.
This morning (3 May) the House of Lords ruled by a four to one majority that the damages should be limited according to the breach of duty attributable to the employers.
The decision was slammed by groups including the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. President Richard Langton said in a statement: “To take away [the victims’] right to full and just compensation is like saying they contracted the disease through nothing more than bad luck.”
Eversheds and Berrymans jointly instructed Four New Square’s Jeremy Stuart-Smith QC for the appellants.
The widows were represented by John Pickering & Partners and Thompsons, instructing David Allan QC of Manchester set Byrom Street Chambers; and Newcastle firm Robinson & Murphy, instructing 12 King’s Bench Walk’s Allan Gore QC