Family of Leeds father-of-two who died after asbestos-cancer diagnosis receive five-figure settlement and £10k costs for hospice

Brian Harrison
Brian Harrison
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Lawyers representing the family of a Leeds man who died after being diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer have secured a five-figure settlement regarding his death.

Brian Harrison died aged 78 around five months after he was told he had mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs commonly associated with exposure to asbestos materials, which also claimed the life of his wife Doreen in 2008.

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Prior to his death, Brian, of Colton, Leeds, instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness.

Brian developed symptoms including breathlessness and chest pain in April 2017, which required strong morphine medication.

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2017 and died in April 2018.

His legal team issued a case against Amec PLC after determining he was most likely to have been exposed to the material while working for the construction company which was known as Sir Lindsay Parkinson back then. Brian was employed as a joiner, cutting up asbestos sheets in the construction of local authority houses.

His family continued with the case following his death and has now revealed its relief after Irwin Mitchell helped secure a five-figure settlement.

In addition, the legal experts were also able to recover costs of more than £10,000 for St Gemma’s Hospice, which cared for Brian before he passed away.

Oliver Collett, the specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office who represents the family, said: “Brian’s case is yet another terrible reminder of the huge impact that asbestos exposure can have, with the consequences only becoming clear many decades after contact with the material is thought to have taken place.

“Not only did Brian suffer from the terrible effects of mesothelioma, he also had to watch his wife Doreen struggle with the disease before passing away 10 years prior to his own diagnosis.

“The family have been through a traumatic time and while nothing will bring Brian back, we hope this settlement will provide some comfort and make them proud to have been able to recover costs for a fantastic charity like St Gemma’s Hospice.

“The site is one of many which carried out fantastic work to support people in their final days and we hope these funds will be a welcome boost.”

Brian was a father to son Garry and daughter Karen.

He was also a grandfather of four.

Brian worked for Sir Lindsay Parkinson – which later became Fairclough’s and then part of Amec PLC – on two occasions in the 1960s and 1970s as a joiner.

Prior to his death, he told Irwin Mitchell how he initially worked in a gang making roofs out of timber.

He outlined how he would cut asbestos sheeting into strips to be used as soffits in the construction of the roofs, as well as how dust would come off the sheets as they were collected.

Brian’s daughter Karen Barry said: “It was devastating to lose dad to mesothelioma, particularly as mum died of the same illness. Asbestos has simply had a huge impact on our family.

“When dad passed away, we were determined to continue with the battle for answers. While nothing could ever make up for his death, we at least have the answers he deserved about what caused his illness.

“In addition, gaining the funds for the hospice is also very positive and we hope it provides a boost to help other patients.”

The presentation of the funds took place on Friday, 28 June, and Tara Bean, the Interim Head of Supporter Engagement at the hospice, said: “St Gemma’s Hospice, based in Moortown, Leeds, provides the best possible care and quality of life for local people with cancer and other life threatening illnesses.

"Care provided is free of charge to patients and their families, so St Gemma’s relies on donations and local fund-raising initiatives in the community.”