Christine Parkin was diagnosed with mesothelioma in late 2019 at the age of 62 years. Prior to developing symptoms, she lived a full live, working part time, travelling overseas and being an active member of her local community.
Ms Parkin contracted mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos when she was a child and assisted her father to construct an extension to the family home using asbestos cement fibro sheets manufactured and supplied by James Hardie.
Ms Parkin brought proceedings in the Supreme Court of Western Australia against Amaca Pty Limited (formerly James Hardie & Coy Pty Limited). The proceedings were hotly contested and Ms Parkin became the first Western Australian mesothelioma case to run to verdict since 2011.
One of the issues in Ms Parkin’s case was her ability to recover the cost of immunotherapy (Keytruda) treatment, which she was having in conjunction with chemotherapy at a cost of approximately $6,000.00 per treatment. James Hardie argued that it was not reasonable that they be required to pay for the treatment, which they said had not been proven to be effective based on Phase 3 clinical trials. The Court did not accept this argument and ordered James Hardie to pay over $60,000.00 for the cost of immunotherapy finding that it was reasonable for Ms Parkin to undergo such treatment given the promising results of Phase 2 clinical trials and her positive response to the treatment to date.
The Judge awarded the sum of $360,000.00 for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life (general damages). This was the largest award for general damages in Western Australia, the previous highest award being in the sum of $250,000.00. The award for general damages brings Western Australian awards in line with those in New South Wales and the rest of Australia.
In total Ms Parkin was awarded the sum of $1,041,480.00.
Ms Parkin’s decision is a groundbreaking decision for all current and future mesothelioma claimants not only in Western Australia, seeking the cost of immunotherapy and significantly increases the damages for persons suffering from mesothelioma in Western Australia.