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    MESOTHELIOMA – asbestos related injury and disease – loss of dependency business acumen of deceased – measure of damages

    O, a male, aged 50 died in May 1995 as a result of mesothelioma contracted from his exposure to asbestos dust whilst working in C’s factory for a period of four months in 1966. O’s widow had been awarded a total of £284,652 including interest in respect of her own claim and that of the two teenage sons of the marriage. C appealed against the sum of £164,035 awarded under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 in respect of the loss of past and future financial dependency. C contended that O’s dependents had suffered little or no loss because they retained the full value of the capital assets which had formed the basis of O’s property development business, and they enjoyed rental income and the interest from investments. O’s widow argued that they had lost financial benefits that would have accrued due to O’s flair, business experience and entrepreneurial skills.

    Held, dismissing the appeal, that the judge had been correct to conclude that O’s dependents had lost the benefit of O’s business acumen which would have resulted in an increase in both the capital value and the income value of D’s property portfolio. He was also correct to have found that that loss was capable of being measured in money terms. O’s widow would require professional financial advice in order to manage the portfolio effectively and the cost of such advice was the most reliable basis upon which to assess the financial dependency element of the award. In all of the circumstances and on the basis of the evidence the award of £164,035 was not excessive, Wood v Bentall Simplex Ltd [1992] P.I.Q.R. P332, [1993] C.L.Y 1394 considered.

    “Current Law” September 2001

    Humphreys & Co. are pleased to support the North Bristol NHS Trust Mesothelioma Research Fund