Tanya Segelov

Principal

Tanya Segelov

I have acted for sufferers of asbestos disease for over 23 years.

I joined the asbestos disease group at Turner Freeman as a third year law student and remained at that firm until I left to establish Segelov Taylor Lawyers in 2016.

At Turner Freeman I worked as a para legal until I was admitted as a solicitor in 1996. I was made as associate in 1998 and a partner in 2000.

I established Segelov Taylor Lawyers to allow me to spend all of my time providing a quality and specialist service to sufferers of asbestos and occupational diseases.

Over the last 23 years I have acted for hundreds of sufferers of mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural disease, silicosis and occupational asthma. I have run numerous significant cases including:

  • the first verdict in Australia for a person exposed to asbestos as a result of home renovations;
  • the first claim where CSR was held responsible for an employee of a subsidiary company;
  • the only successful verdict in the world against an airline for a stewardess exposed to fumes; and
  • Bernie Banton’s claims against James Hardie for his asbestos diseases.

I also acted as part of the legal team representing unions and asbestos support groups at the Jackson Inquiry into James Hardie. I was interviewed for the book retelling the story, Killer Company and enjoyed my fifteen minutes of fame with a small part in the mini series Devils Dust.

In 2010 I was appointed to the Expert Advisory Panel of the Asbestos Management Review and in 2013 appointed by the Federal Government as an independent member of the Asbestos Safety Eradication Council. I have lobbied on behalf of Union and support groups for reforms to legislation affecting asbestos sufferers in New South Wales and in South Australia.

People ask me why I do this work. Each client I have acted for has taught me something about humility, about courage and about dignity. I have learnt there is no such thing as an ordinary life. I have gotten a real sense of satisfaction in being able to give client’s the peace of mind their families will be cared for. I remain as passionate about my work as when I started 23 years ago.

Contact Tanya

p. 02 8880 0500

e. tanya@segelovtaylor.com.au

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1992

I commenced working in the asbestos diseases group at Turner Freeman Lawyers as a paralegal

1996

I was admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales.

1997

Within 12 months of my admission, I ran the test case of CSR Limited v Wren (1997) 44 NSWLR 463. Mr Wren suffered from mesothelioma. He was exposed to asbestos while working at the Asbestos Products factory in 1950 making asbestos cement fibro sheets. Asbestos Products Pty Ltd was a competitor to James Hardie and a wholly owned subsidiary of CSR Limited.

Asbestos Products Pty Ltd was deregistered in the 1960s. Its insurance cover when Mr Wren worked there was £6,000.00, which would previously have been the most he could recover. In order recover significant damages for Mr Wren we sued the parent company, CSR Limited. We were able to identify evidence to show that that CSR controlled its subsidiary to such a degree it should be held responsible for the workers in the factory. This was a novel concept as in law a each company is a separate legal entity, and parent companies are not normally liable for the actions of their subsidiaries.

Mr Wren was successful in his claim in the Dust Diseases Tribunal. CSR appealed to the Court of Appeal. The appeal was not successful and Mr Wren received his money. The case is studied in law school to this day (http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/LawCite?cit=(1997) 44 NSWLR 463)

2000

I ran the first case to verdict in Australia for a person exposed to asbestos as a result of home renovations. Home renovation exposures, often known as third wave exposures, are increasingly responsible for the asbestos disease, mesothelioma.

Helene Edwards was exposed to asbestos in 1977 when she and her father renovated their farmhouse at Penola in South Australia. Helene held asbestos cement fibro sheets while her father cut and drilled them and cut some fibro sheets herself.

More than twenty years later, at the age of 58 years, Helene was diagnosed with mesothelioma. We were able to show that the asbestos sheets she had worked with had been manufactured by James Hardie & Coy Pty Ltd. In proceedings against Hardie, she was awarded judgment in her favour in the sum of $803 403.00).

2004

During 2004 I was honoured to be part of the legal team that acted pro bono for unions and asbestos support groups at the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Establishment of the Medical, Research and Compensation Foundation (the James Hardie Inquiry).

The Inquiry found that the Foundation set up by James Hardie to pay asbestos claims before the company moved off shore was massively underfunded to the tune of $1.5 billion. As a result of pressure from the NSW government, unions and the general public, James Hardie agreed to establish the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Foundation which pays settlements and verdicts against the former James Hardie companies.

The James Hardie saga was told in the book Killer Company written by the award winning journalist Matt Peacock and adapted into a mini series Devil’s Dust. My character has a small role played by Geneive Hegney! (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2259197/).

2007

I ran asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton’s claim against his former employer James Hardie when he developed mesothelioma.

This was Bernie’s second claim against James Hardie. He had made a first claim against Hardie in 1999 in relation to other asbestos diseases. One of the special elements of the law relating to dust diseases in New South Wales (and now copied in most other states) is that a person can bring a claim for one disease, and reserve their rights to bring a second claim if they develop a second disease. This is known as an award of provisional damages.

As Bernie was only 53 years old at the time of his first claim, I advised Bernie to settle his claim on a provisional damages basis.

When Bernie was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2007 he became the first person in Australia to bring a second claim. The second claim, in addition to compensation, sought aggravated and exemplary damages which sought to punish James Hardie. We argued James Hardie knew as a result of an x-ray carried out on Bernie’s lungs when he worked there that Bernie had asbestosis. Not only did James Hardie not tell him but they continued to expose him to asbestos. We also argued the company should be punished for its actions in leaving the country without sufficiently funding its future asbestos liabilities.

James Hardie tried to strike out the claim for aggravated and exemplary damages. They did not succeed at first instance and appealed to the New South Wales Court of Appeal. Again they were unsuccessful. Bernie’s case was settled a few days before his death after a bedside court hearing at Concord Hospital.

The James Hardie saga and Bernie’s case was told in the book Killer Company written by the award winning journalist Matt Peacock and adapted into a mini series Devil’s Dust. My character has a small role played by Geneive Hegney! (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2259197/).

2009

I ran the first successful case in the world for an air stewardess exposed to fumes as a air stewardess, Joanne Turner v East West Airlines Limited (2009) NSWDDT 10 (http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/nsw/NSWDDT/2009/10.html?stem=0&synonyms=0&query=(2009)%20NSWDDT%2010).

Joanne Turner worked for East West Airlines in 1992 when smoke filled the cabin on a flight causing her chronic cough and other ongoing health effects.

Joanne’s case was bitterly fought. After obtaining a judgment in her favour in the sum of $138,757.20 East West appealed to the NSW Court of Appeal (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/nsw/NSWCA/2010/53.html) .

When that appeal was dismissed, East West attempted to appeal to the High Court. The High Court of Australia refused permission in in August 2010.

2010

I was appointed a member by the Federal Government of the Expert Advisory Panel to the Asbestos Management Review that was tasked with providing recommendations to the Federal Government for a national approach to the management of asbestos containing materials in Australia. The Review delivered its findings to Government in June 2012.

Along with union representatives and mesothelioma sufferer Serafina Salucci I lobbied the Prime Minister and others for the implementation of the recommendations of the Review.

Serafina suffers from mesothelioma. She had been been was diagnosed with mesothelioma at the age of 37 years when her youngest of 4 children was three years of age. Serafina was exposed to asbestos at the age of 7 in 1977 when her father built a garage at their family home using asbestos cement fibro sheets. I acted for Serafina in her claim against Amaca Pty Limited (formerly James Hardie & Coy Pty Ltd).

Serafina and her siblings used the off cuts from the fibro sheets as a frisbee and drew with them on the footpath. Serafina told her story to the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard and pleaded that the Government do everything possible to ensure the next generation is not exposed to this deadly dust.

2013

I was appointed by the Federal Government as one of the two independent members of the Asbestos Safety Eradication Council which advises the Asbestos Safety Eradication Agency (ASEA).

ASEA was established following the recommendation of the Asbestos Management Review that an independent national body be established to co-ordinate the management of asbestos. As part of my role I chaired ASEA’s Research Advisory Council. I continue to sit on ASEA’s Research Advisory Council.

2016

I established Segelov Taylor Lawyers with David Taylor as a boutique law firm specialising in assisting people with asbestos and other dust diseases and other complex litigation.

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