This blog post was written by Max Archer.
The Claimant in this case was the widow of a man who had died from mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos during the course of his employment.
The Department of Communities & Local Government was the defendant/Part 20 claimant (“D1”)
Deluxe Laboratories Ltd was the fourth defendant/Part 20 defendant. (“D2”)
The issue for the court to determine was contribution proceedings brought by D1.
D1 had been required to pay the Claimant £180,000 in damages and costs. D1 sought a contribution in respect of that amount from D2. The Claimant’s husband had been employed by both D1 and D2. The Part 20 claim was brought under s.3 of the Compensation Act 2006 on the grounds that D2 was also liable to the deceased as a ‘responsible person’.
The court had witness statements made by the deceased before his death which set out his employment history and recollections as to his employment generally. The court also had two asbestos surveys of D2’s premises carried out in 2006, medical evidence from both parties and expert reports.
The court had to determine:
- Whether D1 had proved that the deceased had been exposed to asbestos whilst
employed by D2;
- Whether a breach of duty had been established;
- Whether D1 had proved that the exposure increased the risk of contracting
- Whether there should be an apportionment and if so to what extent.
Judgment was entered for D2.
It was found that D1 had not proved that the deceased had been exposed to asbestos whilst in the employment of D2.
Though it was found that there had been the potential for exposure, on the balance of probabilities the deceased had not been exposed whilst in the employment of D2. Any exposure that had taken place was de minimis. The issue of breach therefore fell away. The court therefore found that D2 was not a responsible person as per s.3 and the issue of apportionment did not arise.