Leigh Day faces £150,000 personal injury claim from former employee

Human rights firm Leigh Day & Co is facing a High Court claim brought by a former staff member, just weeks after losing an employment tribunal case to another former employee.

Susannah Read, who was previously a solicitor with Leigh Day, is bringing a personal injury claim against the firm in excess of £150,000.

She claims that the firm was negligent and/or in breach of its statutory duty to her, and was ultimately responsible for the onset of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

The claim states that the firm “imposed an excessive burden of work and made excessive demands upon the claimant, especially during an extensive period of time when they knew her health had been affected by her work and she had become ill”.

Read was a member of the team led by Richard Meeran that was responsible for the successful high-profile Cape litigation, which saw 7,500 South Africans claim damages for asbestos-related diseases.

Read’s claim follows a successful unfair dismissal case, brought by another former lawyer Jemima Brewer.

In October, a Woburn employment tribunal ruled that Brewer had been unfairly dismissed and ordered the firm to pay £6,000.

Brewer was also a member of the Cape litigation team, as is another former employee who is also understood to be launching a High Court claim against the firm.

Leigh Day partner Sally Moore told The Lawyer: “Susannah Read is claiming that she has developed ME as a result of her working at the firm. We fully intend to defend these proceedings.”

Read is being represented by Heyes Samuel in the Isle of Wight.