Monday 19 August 2019

Widow of man who died of asbestosis after working with insulation company for 36 years settles court action

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Tim Healy

The widow of a 79-year-old man who died as a result of spending 36 years of his working life being repeatedly exposed to asbestos particles has settled her High Court action.

Máire Ní Uiginn's husband, Michael Higgins, worked as a sales director/manager in Britain and Ireland for a UK insulation company.

He died from malignant mesothelioma, a lung disease caused by asbestosis, on December 19, 2015.

Ms Ní Uiginn sued Cape plc of Jersey, Channel Islands, Cape Insulation Ltd, Middlesex, England, Cape Ireland Ltd, Dublin, and Cape Intermediate Holdings, also Middlesex.

The defendants accepted liability and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Following talks on Thursday, Mr Justice Michael Hanna was told the matter had been settled.

In her action, Ms Ní Uiginn claimed the defendants failed in their duty to take reasonable precautions for the health and safety of her husband.

It was claimed that between 1956 and 1991, Mr Higgins' work involved going to various commercial premises and building sites under the control of the defendants during which he was repeatedly and continuously exposed to asbestos particles. As a result, he developed  mesothelioma which ultimately caused his death.

His widow, Ms Ni Uiginn, a retired education co-ordinator, told the court the court when he was diagnosed in November 2015, it was a great shock to her and their adult daughter Áine. He was given a very short time to live and passed away the following month.

Bernard McDonagh SC, instructed by Brian O'Sullivan of AC Forde Solicitors, told the court liability was conceded but the only issue was the difference between the medical experts on life expectancy.

The court heard doctors for each side would give evidence in relation to this matter.

When the case resumed later on Thursday, the court heard the matter had been settled following talks.

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