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Significant win in mesothelioma claim

The Dust Diseases Tribunal has handed down a significant decision in proceedings brought by Segelov Taylor client, Ron Phillips.

The Court awarded Mr Phillips $664,393.03 plus costs, including a significant allowance for future care in the community. Mr Phillips was diagnosed with the aggressive and incurable lung cancer mesothelioma late last year, with his health rapidly deteriorating since then, requiring 24 hour nursing care.

The mesothelioma cancer was contracted as a result of exposure to James Hardie asbestos building products while helping a friend with a home renovation in the Sutherland Shire in the late 1970s.

Mr Phillips had remained healthy and active, continuing to work until 2014, until developing symptoms of mesothelioma last year.

Segelov Taylor Lawyers commenced a claim on behalf of Mr Phillips against James Hardie & Coy Pty Ltd (now Amaca Pty Ltd) just before Christmas.

Lawyers for James Hardie argued that the company should only be required to pay for the lower-cost option of Mr Phillips being cared for in a nursing home, however Mr Phillips insisted he be given the choice to spend his final months living in the community, with James Hardie compensating him for the cost of care by his family and professional nurses.

In a significant judgement that will help victims of asbestos disease, Judge Wendy Strathdee accepted Mr Phillips’ argument, finding that: “he deserves to be comfortable and to the extent that he might find some comfort looking out from the balcony to see his beloved beach and boardwalk, it is reasonable for that to be provided to him.”

The decision opens the door for other sufferers of asbestos diseases to choose to receive care at home.

A copy of the decision can be downloaded here.

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