Widow of asbestos victim suing Upper Clyde Ship Builders for £700,000

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The widow of a Scottish shipbuilder is suing Upper Clyde Ship Builders for £700,000 after her husband died from the effects of mesothelioma at the age of 73.

Elizabeth MacLeod’s lawyers view the case as being one of the most extreme examples of work-relate exposure to asbestos they have yet come across.

Mr MacLeod worked as an apprentice engineer on ocean liners for Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd in the 1950s before moving on in 1963 to an office-based job as a draughtsman.  During this time Mrs Macleod’s lawyers claim Ian MacLeod received ‘massive exposure’ to asbestos fibres.

The MacLeod family lawyers say in the filed court papers that Mr Macleod was working in the engine rooms underneath engine room insulators known as the ‘white mice men’ who cut up sheets of asbestos with a saw – ‘The dust dell down on top of [Ian] like snow landing on his hair and his overalls.’

Court papers describe Mr McLeod suffering prior to his eventual death in October 2010: he experieced loss of appetite, weight-loss and required powerful pain medication to control continued severe chest pain.

Although Upper Clyde Ship Builders closed in 1971, lawyers for Mr MacLeod’s widow are suing the firm’s insurers in the Court of Session.

Mrs MacLeod, from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, is suing for £400,000 for herself, for ‘the deceased’s pain and suffering and loss of life expectancy’ and for loss of financial support.  Six other relatives of Mr MacLeod are named as seeking £50,000 each in the action.

Thompsons Solicitors representing Mrs MacLeod, said: “Asbestos has cast a dark cloud over Scotland’s industrial history and torn families apart.”