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Court decision clears way for asbestos claims

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Media Release

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A decision handed down today in the NSW Court of Appeal has sent the strongest message yet to the manufacturers of automotive brake pads that their products have a direct link to the deadly asbestos relegated disease, mesothelioma.

Ms Joanne Wade, specialist asbestos lawyer with Slater and Gordon, said the Appeal Court decision in favour John Booth, a former motor mechanic, against Amaba Pty Limited is a major win.

“This decision will provide a huge amount of relief to the possibly hundreds of automotive workers who have contracted or may contract asbestos related diseases repairing brakes over the years,” Ms Wade said.

“Just like John Booth, Slater and Gordon currently represents the family of a former mechanic, the late Arnold Shingles, who died from the incurable disease, mesothelioma in March this year.

“His case, also against Amaba, formerly known as Hardie-Ferodo Pty Ltd, and Bendix Mintex Pty Ltd has been on hold for more than 15 months waiting for this decision.

“The late Mr Shingles, who lived in the Queensland NSW border town of Applethorpe, passed away not knowing whether his family would be looked after.

“Today’s decision clears the way for his family to continue their fight for justice and the hope of some compensation,” Ms Wade said.

Asbestos was used as a component in brake linings until December 2003 when an Australia-wide ban on the importation, manufacture and use of all forms of asbestos and asbestos containing products took effect.

Today’s win builds on Slater and Gordon’s historic 2008 decision by the Supreme Court of Western Australia which handed down the first successful asbestosis verdict for a worker against the Ford Motor Company who was exposed to asbestos through brake pads.

The Supreme Court of Western Australia ruled in favour of Mr Lo Presti, former Perth brake mechanic, ordering Ford to pay him $840,000 in damages in addition to his legal costs.

Slater and Gordon represented asbestos victims and unions in negotiating the 2004 James Hardie asbestos compensation agreement.

Slater and Gordon also conducted the first successful common law asbestos litigation case in 1984 and has acted for thousands of people exposed to and diagnosed with an asbestos related disease.