Asbestos on clothes kills mum

Last Updated on 16th September 2019 by Kirsty Smithson

Housewife contracted mesothelioma after 40 years of washing husbands overalls

A mum and housewife contracted mesothelioma cancer after years of coming into contact with asbestos on clothes her husband wore for work.

Adrienne Sweeney’s husband, William, worked as a fitter at a boiler factory for 40 years.

Upon her husband’s return from work each day, the couple would have cuddles and she would clean his uniform.

At a court hearing last year, it was deemed that Adrienne’s cancer was caused by asbestos on clothes her husband wore for work.

As a result, her family have just been awarded £247,000 in compensation.

The family are pleased with the end verdict.

Kay Gibson, Adrienne’s daughter, said, “Our loving mother was hard working and lived to support her family and friends, like so many women in Scotland in the late 60s and early 70s.”

“She supported her family by caring for her children and washing her husband’s overalls when he returned from a hard day’s work for employers who used deadly asbestos.”

“These women, like our mother, were unaware how unsafe it was to be handling the asbestos dust which came from these work clothes or the contamination risk to their own and their families lungs.”

William Sweeney died aged 71 in 2008.

The court heard how he and Adrienne would share a cuddle when he came home form work, before Adrienne proceeded to wash his clothes.

It was years of doing this that exposed Adrienne to asbestos.

She was to die from mesothelioma aged 75 in 2015.

Former employers ordered to pay damages

Babcock International, Williams former employers, were told by the judge that they should pay damages to the family.

The judge said, “This is, so far as I can tell, the first case in this jurisdiction in which a proof has taken place dealing with secondary exposure – that is, exposure to someone in the home of an employee, alleged to have caused mesothelioma in a secondary victim.”

“I am satisfied that the defenders failed to reduce the risk to the deceased. There was no safe known level of exposure.”

“For the reasons set out, I am satisfied that the defenders negligently exposed the deceased to asbestos and materially increased the risk that she would develop mesothelioma.”

William and Adrienne’s family originally sued Babcock International for £50,000 as individuals.

Adrienne gave a statement to a legal firm before she died in 2015 which detailed both her and Williams’s employment history.

Apparently, she told the legal firm that she knew there was asbestos on clothes she washed for her husband.

Asbestos on clothes kills mum

The Lawyers seeking compensation for the Sweeney family argued that William’s employers were liable for Adrienne’s illness and eventual death.

Thompsons Solicitors said the company should have done more to prevent both her and William being exposed to asbestos on clothes worn by William for work.

However, Babcock International argued that there was insufficient evidence of this.

But in the end, the judge ruled in favour of the family.

The judge said, “I accept that Mr Sweeney brought dusty clothes home with him. Whether the deceased had any basis in her own knowledge or from discussion with Mr Sweeney for her statement that the clothing had asbestos dust on it, I do not know.

“I accept that the deceased shook out and washed Mr Sweeney’s work clothes in the manner described in her statement.”

“Her statement is imprecise as to the frequency with which she did so, but I infer from what she said that this was a regular occurrence, carried out throughout the different seasons and, on the balance of probabilities, at least weekly.”

“I infer that the defenders knew or ought to have known that work clothes would be cleaned at home given that they did not provide clean clothing.”

Nicola Macara, the lawyer who acted for the family from Thompsons Solicitors, said, “This landmark case is a very positive outcome not only for the Sweeney family but for all Scots fighting to ensure that justice is done for sufferers of asbestos-related disease.”

Source of article:-

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Published Aug 01, 2018

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