Six-figure pay-out for Lowestoft woman with cancer
10:56 16 May 2013
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2008
A Lowestoft woman who has asbestos-related cancer from dusting down and washing her husband’s work clothes has won a six-figure pay-out against her spouse’s former employer.
Joyce Harding, 78, secured the out-of-court settlement from Ruskin Park House Limited, previously the Ruskin Park Housing Association.
Mrs Harding, from Elizabeth Court, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July and the lung cancer has shortened her life by about 13 years.
Papers submitted to the High Court had said her husband Arthur’s clothes were contaminated with asbestos dust as he worked in communal boiler rooms as an assistant caretaker between 1975 and 1977 for Ruskin Park in Denmark Hill in London.
His wife would then shake off the dust when he got home and wash his work overalls – leading to her contracting mesothelioma.
It was claimed that Ruskin Park allowed Mr Harding, who is now 78, to be exposed to the asbestos when the organisation knew it was putting him and his family at risk.
Ruskin Park had denied the claim, but yesterday agreed the out-of-court settlement for a six-figure sum, which was secured for Mrs Harding by Birchall Blackburn Solictors, based in the north west.
After the settlement Mrs Harding said: “It’s hard to believe that carrying out normal household tasks and looking after my husband could be so dangerous. The lack of protective clothing and advice from my husband’s employer as he carried out his day-to-day job has left me with a fatal disease and my family are obviously heartbroken. The cancer is having a terrible effect upon me and I am unable to live my life to the full, or do simple jobs around the home.
“My husband and I are both very grateful for the help we received.”
Dianne Yates, a partner at Birchall Blackburn Solicitors, said: “This is an unfortunate case which required a great deal of empathy.”