(1) Cuthbert (appellant) v Taylor Woodrow Construction Holdings (respondent) (2) White & ors (Executors of the estate of Thomas Albert White, Dc’d) (appellants) v Secretary of State for Health & Social Care (respondent)

Wednesday 6 – Thursday 7 December 2023

Appeal 1 – By Appellants Notice filed on 19 December 2022, the Claimant (C) appeals HHJ Freedman’s order dated 30 November 2022, sitting as a High Court Judge in the King’s Bench Division.

He (1) dismissed the claim (2) gave judgment for the Defendant (D) and made consequential costs orders.

The Judge dismissed C’s claim for damages arising out of the death of Derek Cuthbert from mesothelioma. The exposure complained occurred in the period after 1955, but before 1965 ( the date when asbestos was known to cause mesothelioma).

The proposed appeal is said to raise issues of general importance to mesothelioma litigation. Central issue is whether ” in this period of time, what level of exposure to asbestos must an employed victim (or their Estate) demonstrate in order to prove that it gave rise, or should have given rise, to a foreseeable risk of injury in the mind of a well informed, large employer”. Question of the approach to foreseeability or harm.

Appeal 2 – By Appellants Notice filed on 23 December 2022, the three Claimants (C) appeal the order dated 2 December 2022 of Jeremy Hyams KC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge in the King’s Bench Division.

The Judge (1) dismissed the claim and entered judgment for the Defendant (D) and (2) made a consequential costs order.

Claim by the executors of the estate of Thomas White for damages under the Law Reform Act (Miscellaneous Provisions ) Act 1934 in respect of Mr White’s death on 8 April 2020 due to alleged exposure to asbestos during two periods of employment at Sefton General Hospital from 1949- 1960 and 1973-1989 while using laboratory mats. Separate lesser source of exposure was said to be asbestos lagged pipework in the hospital basement.

The Judge accepted the mats emitted asbestos dust in respect of the first period of employment and were likely to materially increased risk but in not the second period; and did not accept there had been any significant exposure in the basement. The Judge found D did not owe any duty of care as it was not foreseeable at the time that the level of asbestos posed a risk.

View hearing:

Day 1

Part 1

Part 2

Day 2

Part 1

Part 2