Litigation Personal Injury 12/7/99

Marc Stephen Rayment (By his father & next friend Stephen Ronald William) v Ministry of Defence (1999) QBD (Alliott J) 21 June 199Claimant: Male, new born at date of accident; 15 years old at date of settlement

Incident: The claimant's mother ('M') was admitted to a military hospital in July 1985 for the birth of her first child, the claimant. It became clear that M's cervix was not dilating quickly enough. Monitoring showed claimant's heartbeat was slowing and he had signs of foetal distress. After 16 hours in labour, M's cervix was sufficiently dilated to deliver the claimant. But he had become fixed in an occipito-anterior position and three firm pulls needed to be applied with forceps. The claimant still did not move position and M underwent an emergency Caesarean section. The claimant was born severely distressed and needing to be intubated. The claimant brought an action alleging that the hospital staff had been negligent in the management of his birth.

Injuries: The claimant sustained severe brain damage and was diagnosed with dystonic quadriplegia and microcephaly. He retains no controlled mobility over his limbs and was prone to dystonic spasms. He is wheelchair-bound and suffered from incontinence. He has rudimentary communication skills and no understandable speech. He is unable to dress or care for himself. The condition is permanent and it is estimated he will live to the age of 43.

Award: u1,295,000 total damages (out of court settlement)

Claimant's counsel: Peter Andrews QC

Claimant's Solicitor: Clarke Wilmott & Clarke.

Godfrey v Gnitrow Ltd (1999) Oldham CC (Mr Recorder Marriott) 24 June 1999

Claimant: Male, 57 years old at the onset of symptoms; 61 years old at date of trial.

Incident: The claimant worked for the defendant (then known as J Samuel White & Co) at its shipyard. He alleged that between 1953 and 1958 he was exposed to high levels of asbestos, resulting in lung injury over 40 years later.

Injuries: The claimant was admitted to hospital in 1995 suffering from pneumonia. He was then diagnosed with pleural plaques and asbestosis. He recovered from pneumonia but remained breathless. His total respiratory disability was estimated at 50 per cent, of which 40 per cent was due to hyperventilation and 10 per cent due to asbestosis. The pleural plaques were found to be asymptomatic. A quarter of the hyperventilation symptoms were due to anxiety at the knowledge he had an asbestos-related condition and he was at risk of developing cancer. Thus the total respiratory difficulty due to asbestos exposure was estimated at 20 per cent. His life expectancy was reduced by one to five years (this excluded the risk of developing lung cancer, which was estimated at 3 to 5 per cent). The risk of developing mesothelioma was estimated at 10 per cent and of developing diffuse pleural thickening at 2 per cent.

Award: u32,690 total damages.

Claimant's counsel: Christopher Melton

Claimant's solicitor: John Pickering & Partners

Cases from LAWTEL's PI Quantum Database. Contact Deborah Talbot on 0171 970 482