Fieldfisher client Caroline Wilcock, who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, has won an asbestos disease claim years after she drew hopscotch grids as a child in Bowburn, County Durham, using asbestos waste from a local factory. She stated that she had been exposed to the asbestos between 1967 and 1983.
Miss Wilcock's case against Cape Intermediate Holdings PLC – previously known as The Cape Asbestos Company – was due to be heard by a High Court Judge at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday 16 October but the company settled with her out of court.
She said: "'My case establishes that the people of Bowburn were exposed to the dangers of asbestos over forty years ago and were largely unaware or unable to do anything to protect themselves and their children.
"I am angry that I and other children came into contact with asbestos whilst playing in our village and around our homes, and feel certain that my case will not be in isolation.
"This case, and in particular the outcome, has local, national and international implications and is a breakthrough case for mesothelioma sufferers worldwide.
"The law must be changed to protect all future diagnosed cases and allow them access to the compensation they truly deserve."
The company that owned the factory, Cape Universal Building Products Limited, ceased trading in 1977 and was not available to be sued. Caroline sued the parent company, Cape Intermediate Holdings Limited (formerly The Cape Asbestos Company Limited) in its place, breaking new legal ground.
Andrew Morgan, Partner at Fieldfisher, said: "There are few lawyers and law firms who would take on a claim that presented such obstacles and that posed such risks.
"I am delighted that we were able to obtain substantial monetary recognition for Caroline but I fear the Government's intended reforms to the financing of mesothelioma claims will bring an end to such public interest litigation."