An asbestos trial has commenced in Brisbane Australia this morning, against the asbestos company, James Hardie.
The company are notorious in Australia having been accused of killing thousands already.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers are leading the landmark case, which is the first of its kind to go to trial in Queensland in more than twenty years.
Suing James Hardie is 73-year-old Syd Lacey, who is suffering from terminal mesothelioma.
Mr Lacey says he was exposed to their products while he worked as a carpenter in the late 1970’s and 1980’s.
He is seeking damages as his illness has meant he has been unable to care for his sick wife, who is deaf and suffers from severe epilepsy.
The legal team pursuing the case are hoping it will serve as an important legal test in seeking damages relating to asbestos in Queensland.
James Hardie mined and manufactured building products containing asbestos (such as fibro sheeting) for many years.
Despite knowing the dangers, they suppressed scientific evidence for decades which showed their products contained asbestos.
They were forced to set up a compensation scheme for victims, but ended up shifting their company operations offshore in order to try and escape further liability.
Lawyer, Jonathan Walsh, said, “This is a tragic case, that if successful will set a precedent for mesothelioma damages in Queensland.”
“It is also the first case of its kind to go to trial in Queensland in over 20 years.”
“For almost two decades our client Syd has been the primary carer for his wife of forty years Marion. Syd himself is also profoundly deaf, and since his diagnosis of mesothelioma in March 2017 has undergone several gruelling chemotherapy treatment regimens – treatment that is necessary to prolong his life for as long as possible.”
“Sadly, his disease will ultimately stop him from caring for his wife and take his life.”
“Whilst James Hardie has conceded they are liable for Syd’s asbestos exposure, they have refused to accept that Marion requires 24 hour care and that Syd will lose his ability to care for her around-the-clock.”
“Syd’s inability to continue caring for his wife is going to have a significant impact on both their lives, and it is very important to him that he has the financial means to make sure that his wife can be cared for.”
Brisbane Supreme Court will host Syd Lacey’s case with the asbestos trial set to last for four days.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers will be seeking a total of $5.9 million in damages from Amaca Pty Ltd (formerly James Hardie).
Most of the damages being sought are to compensate for Syd being physically unable to provide long term care and support for his wife Marion.
Mr Walsh said of the case, “This case is also seeking exemplary damages – damages that recognise James Hardie’s reckless indifference in continuing to sell the asbestos products that caused Syd’s illness, despite knowing these products could kill.”
“If that aspect of Syd’s case is successful it will set an important legal precedent for future Queensland asbestos sufferers and their families seeking compensation, as currently there is no precedent for James Hardie or other defendants to have pay such damages in Queensland.”
“Syd’s great hope is that by bringing this case he can help not only his own family, but also help other sufferers to have the ability to seek damages they are entitled to for the harm caused by asbestos products they should never have been exposed to.”
A complete ban on asbestos was imposed in Australia over a decade ago.
As a nation, Australia has the second highest asbestos death rate in the world (with the UK being no 1).
The number of mesothelioma cases in Australia is expected to peak around 2020, to at least 18,000.
So make sure you contact our Armco office to arrange an asbestos survey, before it’s too late!
Whether you need an asbestos management survey, or a refurbishment/ demolition survey, contact us on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/
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