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Not all mesothelioma claims result in a payment

16 October 2014

The case of Macarthy v Marks & Spencer is a timely reminder that not all mesothelioma claims result in a payment.

The deceased worked for a shop fitting company between 1967 and 1990 and contracted mesothelioma. It was accepted that his asbestos exposure took place on the premises of M&S but that it did not exceed the relevant exposure limits at the time.

A distinction was made between the knowledge of the specialist contractors working on behalf of M&S and the knowledge of the retailer. Whilst it is reasonable to assume that specialist contractors were aware of the Asbestos Research Council guidance in 1967 as their operatives were using protective equipment and clothing, the same could not fix the retailer with the same knowledge.

This judgment is another reminder that all is not lost when faced with a claim based on asbestos exposure. A careful analysis of the evidence is required to assess whether the level of asbestos exposure gives rise to a foreseeable risk of injury having regard to the state of knowledge at the time of exposure.

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