Asbestos sufferers emerge victorious in Pleural Plaques litigation

Personal injury lawyers are celebrating after a judge ruled today (15 February) that insurers are liable for compensation to asbestos victims.

The Pleural Plaques Test Litigation was brought by a number of sufferers of pleural plaques – lung scarring caused by asbestos exposure – against British Shipbuilders and several insurers.

Sitting in Newcastle Crown Court, Mr Justice Holland found that pleural plaques should be compensated for, because the risk of developing a full-blown asbestos-related disease was increased and therefore the plaques lead to anxiety.

However he reduced the level of damages from what the claimants had originally demanded, awarding between £4,000 and £10,000 for each of the 10 claimants. One claimant, John Grieves, also received an additional £16,580 for “special damages” because of the severity of his case.

The claimants were represented by John Pickering & Partners, Thompsons, Walker Smith Way, Marrons, Harkin Lloyd, Robinson & Murphy, Whittles, and Field Fisher Waterhouse, instructing Manchester set Byrom Street Chambers’ David Allan QC and 12 King’s Bench Walk’s Frank Burton QC and Allan Gore QC.

British Shipbuilders were represented by Eversheds, instructing 5 Paper Buildings’ Antonio Bueno QC. Halliwells acted for insurers including Norwich Union and Zurich, instructing Michael Kent QC of Crown Office Row Chambers, and Cartwright Black instructed Liverpool set Castle Street Chambers’ Charles Feeny for another insurer.