Mr Phillips was 84 years of age when he contracted mesothelioma because of exposure to James Hardie asbestos cement building products while helping a friend carrying out building work in the late 1970s. Despite his age, Mr Phillips was incredibly fit. He exercised each day including walking and dancing for several hours a night several times a week.
Mr Phillips condition deteriorated rapidly following his diagnosis. Prior to his diagnosis he lived alone in a third-floor apartment without a lift. Following his diagnosis, Mr Phillips could no longer care for himself or climb the stairs to his unit.
Mr Phillips brought proceedings against Amaca Pty Limited (formerly James Hardie & Coy Pty Limited) in the Dust Diseases Tribunal of NSW. As part of his claim Mr Phillips sought the cost of his future care. 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. We argued that Mr Phillips should have the choice to spend his final months living in his community with James Hardie compensating him for the cost of care by his family and professional nurses.
The Court accepted our argument and Mr Phillips was awarded the sum of $664,393.03 plus costs which included over$285,000.00 for past and future care.
In a significant Judgment that will help all victims of asbestos disease, the court accepted Mr Phillips’ argument finding that:
“He deserves to be comfortable and to the extent he might find some comfort looking out from the balcony to see his beloved beach and boardwalk, it is reasonable that be provided to him.”
The decision opens the door for other suffers of asbestos disease to choose care at home.