It was reported in the Independent on Sunday that that long awaited ‘Trigger Litigation’ decision will be handed down from the Supreme Court on Wednesday 28 March 2012. Reliable sources are quoted as saying the decision will be in favour of the victims, and the Supreme Court will return the law to the position it was prior to Court of Appeal decision.
Asbestos Specialists we solicitors llp, represent David Mahoney, an asbestos victim diagnosed in 2009 with mesothelioma (an aggressive asbestos related lung cancer). Mr Mahoney was exposed to asbestos during his employment as a Labourer, with Taylor Woodrow Services Limited from 1976 – 1978. He was worked on the site of British Home Stores in Colchester. He was exposed to asbestos dust whilst installing asbestos ceiling tiles in false ceilings, and asbestolux sheeting for partitions and false walls.
After seeking legal advice Mr Mahoney brought a claim against Taylor Woodrow, who were insured through Builders Accident Insurance (BAI). BAI refused to pay compensation to the dying man for three years, due to the awaited judgement from the Supreme Court.
BAI argue the technical wording of insurance policies means they do not have pay compensation claims. They say the insurance policy only provided cover for illnesses that ‘occurred’ while the policy was in force, not when the exposure to asbestos dust took place. Their argument is that the injury ‘occurred’ when the lung cancer started, when it was ‘triggered’. Current scientific knowledge estimates this date to be about 10 years before diagnosis. If BAI had been successful in this argument the insurance company on cover 10 years before diagnosis would have to pay the compensation. However, many of the companies would have gone out of business so there would be no insurance cover to claim, therefore very few people could claim.
In the past cases have always been brought against the insurer who provided insurance cover at the time the victim was exposed to the asbestos dust.
Despite BAI losing the case in the High Court and Court of Appeal they appealed the decision. The appeal was heard in the Supreme Court in December 2011 and there has still been no decision. We now await confirmation of what was reported on Sunday.
In the meantime Mr Mahoney’s case and life have been placed on hold. BAI refuse to pay him any compensation whatsoever, whilst the court’s decision is pending
We hope now that justice will be served. If the decision is in favour of the victims then this has been a senseless waste of millions of pounds on the part of a minority of the nuance industry who have sought to place profit before peoples’ right to compensation.
Mr Mahoney is one of the few living mesothlioma victims who has survived despite his long wait for justice
Hopefully the defendants will now meet their responsibilities and start paying these terminally I’ll victims the compensation they are entitled to.