Solicitor's family wins damages after meningitis death

The family of a leading solicitor whose career was cut off in its prime when he was struck down with meningitis and died has accepted £650,000 in damages in the High Court.

The damages for the family of Tiverton-based Malcolm Mead, a leading employment law expert who was chairman of the managing board of the Tiverton and Taunton offices of Bevan Ashford, are to be paid by the Royal Devon and Exeter Healthcare Trust.

Mr Justice Tucker was told that Mead, who was 44 at the time of his death, was taken ill on 11 April 1993 and died a week later on 18 April.

His solicitor wife, Helen, launched the claim against the trust accusing it of negligence for diagnosing bacterial meningitis rather than the rarer form of viral meningitis, and for allowing him to come home after initial treatment.

The judge was told by Stephen Miller QC, counsel for Mead's family, that the parties had come to terms and that Mrs Mead and her children, Sarah, 15, Hugh, 11 and Kate, nine, are to receive a total of £650,000. This was less than the £720,000 originally sought but made allowance for the risks involved if the case had been fully contested.

Miller told the judge that Mead was “a man who loved the law in all its different aspects” and who, in addition to being a senior partner with Bevan Ashford, had also written a text book on employment law and lectured on the law.