February 23, 2019

Family of asbestos victim exposed at Glasgow carpet factory appeal to former colleagues for help

Frances Hamilton was 75 when she died in May 2014, not long after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. The incurable disease is a form of cancer which attacks the lining of the lungs, caused by inhaling asbestos dust and fibres decades ago.

Before her death, Ms Hamilton told lawyers acting in her case that she believed she was exposed to the deadly substance while working at the Templeton carpet factory in Bridgeton, Glasgow, from the late 1950s to the mid-60s. The factory, then run by James Templeton and Company, had been built 1892 and was at one time the largest carpet manufacturer in the world.

She later worked with her mother, who also died of mesothelioma, at Wrights Insulation in 1967 where were exposed to asbestos while sewing boiler covers for steam locomotive engines.

Her son, Mark MacLellan, 48, has instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell Scotland to investigate the conditions that his mother was exposed to and what measures, if any, were put in place to prevent workers being exposed to asbestos.

Ms Hamilton told her family she worked in an “extremely dusty” environment and was provided with no overalls or gloves to protect her from coming into contact with the hazardous substance.

Laura McCallum, a specialist asbestos lawyer at the Glasgow legal firm, said: “Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive disease and causes a great deal of pain and suffering for victims like Frances.

“Employers knew the risks of asbestos when she began working in the 1950s and should have provided her with protection to prevent exposure to the dust.

“We would like to hear from employees who worked at the Templeton carpet factory and mill between 1955 and 1975 on the working conditions that they were exposed to and what protective equipment, if any, was provided by their employers.

“This information will be crucial in helping Frances’ family secure justice for their mother and grandmother and we hope anyone who worked with Frances will come forward with the information we need to ensure those responsible for her exposure to asbestos are held to account.”

Another former employee, Helen Winning, who worked at the factory from 1964 until the early 1980s, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2006. Her mother, who had been a weaver at Templetons, also died from mesothelioma in 1994.

The factory, which overlooks Glasgow Green and the People’s Palace, was designed by the Scottish architect, William Leiper, and inspired by the medieval Palazzo Ducale in Venice.

It was blighted by tragedy soon after opening when a factory wall collapsed during high winds in 1889, trapping 100 women in the weaving workshop and killing 29.

A fire the following year claimed more lives.

In 1981, James Templeton and Co. merged with A F Stoddard and Henry Widnell & Stewart to form Elderslie-based Stoddard Carpets, which eventually went bust in 2005. The former factory has now been converted into flats and is also home to the West Brewery.

However, the lawyers believe they would be able to sue the factory’s former insurers, which provided cover to the factory from 1950 to 1970.

Payouts could also be sought against the former insurers of Wrights Insulation, which is also defunct.

Mr MacLellan, who lives in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, said: “My mother was devastated when she lost her mum to mesothelioma, so for her to suffer from the same disease was absolutely devastating.

“To find out the disease was caused by her exposure to asbestos simply by going to work every day is even more upsetting for the family.”

Anyone with information about working conditions at the Templeton carpet factory should contact Laura McCallum at Irwin Mitchell Scotland on 0141 300 4083.

Taken from: 

Family of asbestos victim exposed at Glasgow carpet factory appeal to former colleagues for help

Views wanted on asbestos claim bill

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Views wanted on asbestos claim bill

Fears that court reform may hit claims over asbestosis

MSPs are to consider the final stage of the Court Reform (Scotland) Bill this afternoon, which includes plans to create new personal injury courts to speed up proceedings.

Victims and campaigners are concerned that the proposals could see some complex asbestos cases moved away from Scotland’s highest civil court, the Court of Session, in turn losing out on the experience and knowledge of the country’s most senior judges.

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There are also concerns that although specialist solicitor advocates are automatically instructed in the Court of Session that would not be the case for claimants at a sheriff or personal injury court level.

Campaigners claim this would create an uneven playing field as large insurance companies can afford to pay higher costs for their legal representation.

Phyllis Craig, chairwoman of Clydeside Action on Asbestos, said: “Asbestos victims from all over Scotland are coming to Holyrood to make a personal plea to Kenny MacAskill. They’re saying please don’t allow your new court reform to stop us and our families getting justice for what’s been done to us.

“More victims than ever are coming forward.

“He may not have intended it but the Justice Secretary’s reform will end up stacking the odds very much in favour of the insurance companies who, to their shame, will use any means they can to avoid admitting liability.

“The men and women suffering these conditions must be protected by our justice system not forgotten about in the drive for reform.”

The Scottish Government claims that after the reform process, asbestosis cases will be able to be heard in the sheriff court, the new specialist personal injury court or the Court of Session, depending on its complexity and the value of the damages sought.

Originally from: 

Fears that court reform may hit claims over asbestosis