Marks & Spencer pays compensation for asbestos negligence in stores


Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 15.06.56Asbestos-related illnesses still dominate the Industrial Disease cases we see. Our team were interested to read about one such case involving Marks & Spencer and a Shop-floor Supervisor – not a role considered ‘high risk’ for asbestos exposure.

Janice Allen, aged 53, worked in the retailer’s Oxford Street and Uxbridge clothes departments during 1978 and 1987.

After exposure to asbestos, Mrs Allen developed a rare form of cancer, Mesothelioma. 14 months after her diagnosis, she received a substantial undisclosed sum in a last minute settlement from Marks & Spencer.

Speaking with The Guardian newspaper, Mrs Allen said “I feel betrayed by Marks and Spencer.”

The retailer did admit to a breach of its legal duty of care. Even so, the case was listed for an Assessment of Damages hearing on 25th June 2014. Prior to that hearing, a settlement was reached.

Marks & Spencer were fined £1million for other asbestos-related cases

Surprisingly, this is not the first time the retailer has fallen foul of Asbestos Regulations. In 2011, the company was also fined £1million for unsafe handling of asbestos in its Reading Store.

Helen Bradley, Partner at Birchall Blackburn, commented “This is yet another case highlighting that asbestos is present in numerous buildings. If the asbestos is disturbed, improperly maintained or removed, harmful  fibres can be released. These fibres expose members of the public to a potentially lethal dust   without them knowing until many years later.”

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If you or your family members suffer from any asbestos-related conditions (or have in the past) we may be able to help you. Although we cannot undo the emotional and physical suffering caused by serious illness, compensation can at least ease the financial stress that often accompanies an inability to work, medical costs and more.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our Industrial Diseasespecialists on 0800 614 722 for qualified advice. You can also call Birchall Blackburn Partner, Helen Bradley, directly on 0161 238 5637 – she’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.