Landmark asbestos ruling hailed by campaigners

Bill and adrienne sweeney-2

Adriennne and Bill Sweeney 

Judge finds in favour of family 

26th July 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Campaigners have applauded a “landmark victory” after a family whose mother died after being exposed to second-hand asbestos was awarded £250,000.

Clydeside Action on Asbestos praised the decision in the case for the late Adrienne Sweeney who contracted a type of cancer called mesothelioma after coming into contact with asbestos on her husband's overalls.

William Sweeney had been a boilermaker at Babcock and Wilcox in Renfrew in the 1960s.

It is the first time in Scotland a legal case has been successfully pursued on behalf of somebody who died after second-hand asbestos exposure.

Phyllis Craig, chair of Clydeside Action on Asbestos, said: “This is a landmark victory and will certainly help other women to have the right to pursue civil damages.

"It is only because of the courage and dedication of the late Mrs Sweeney and her family that a legacy has been left for the many others who may not have been successful when trying to obtain civil damages.

“Clydeside Action on Asbestos was proud to assist the late Mrs Sweeney and her family and are here to help with practical advice and support to anyone diagnosed with an asbestos condition.”

Sweeney's daughter dedicated the victory to her late mother.

"Most importantly, this gives our late mother the justice she wanted in life and that we sought on her behalf after her painful and unnecessary premature death," she said.

The family relied on the evidence of a former colleague about working conditions at Babcock and Wilcox because William Sweeney had died several years before his wife.

Nicola Macara, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: "It is very regrettable that Babcock International Limited made the family go through the full court process hoping that, with all those central to the case being dead, they would successfully defend the action.”

Lawyers for Babcock argued it was unclear to what extent Mr Sweeney was exposed to asbestos at the factory in Renfrew. But Lady Carmichael said: "The defenders knew or ought to have known that work clothes would be cleaned at home given that they did not provide clean clothing."