Family awarded £535,000 over fatal asbestos exposure

Jurek Mlotkiewicz

In the late 1960s, Jurek Mlotkiewicz was exposed to asbestos while working as a chemist with Scottish Power at Kincardine Power Station in Fife.

The family man had been fit and active all his life, but when he started experiencing breathlessness, weight loss and fatigue in November 2020, he made an appointment with his GP.

Mr Mlotkiewicz was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a terminal lung cancer caused by inhaling deadly asbestos fibres, in February the following year.

His daughter, Irena Giraud, said: “I had never seen my dad ill.

“He had always been a fit man, so when he told me the news I was in complete disbelief.”

The father-of-three contacted Asbestos Action shortly after his diagnosis for support and was referred to Digby Brown to pursue a civil action against his employer.

Sadly, he passed away on 25 July 2021 – less than six months after his diagnosis and just over five months into his claim.

Continuing the legal fight for an absent loved one

When a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, making a claim for compensation can, understandably, be the last thing on a family’s mind.

However, when he learned of his diagnosis, Mr Mlotkiewicz knew he wanted his family’s future to be secured.

Gary Ross, Partner in Digby Brown's Industrial Disease team, led the legal action against Scottish Power.

He investigated Mr Mlotkiewicz’s work history, discovering that he was exposed to asbestos-filled dust while analysing water samples from boilers located throughout Kincardine Power Station.

The chemist was instructed by his employer to wear gloves made of asbestos, and no masks, respirators, suitable protective clothing, bathing or showering facilities were provided.

As a result, he ended up breathing in deadly asbestos fibres daily.

When the father-of-three passed away, Gary helped the family to fight for justice on his behalf.

Daughter, Irena, said: “I’m angry my dad was taken so soon because of his work.

“He was like a ray of sunshine, always positive and I am so grateful to have had him as a dad. I couldn't have asked for a better role model in my life.

“He was very insistent about pursuing a legal case, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have done it.

“The process was excellent. This may sound corny but my dad was everything to us and Gary felt like an extension of the family.

“He was kind, empathetic and understanding. If we got upset, he was very comforting.”

Gary gathered medical records, financial documents and worked alongside leading experts to evaluate everything on behalf of Mr Mlotkiewicz: his pain and suffering (known as ‘solatium’); financial losses; and the impact this would have on the future of his wife and children.

After months of investigations, Gary was able to secure £535,000 in rightful damages for the family.

Irena said: “My dad was so confident in the process and wanted mum looked after. He had so much faith in Gary and the team.

“Although the settlement will never replace my dad’s love, care and spirit, it will help my mum have a more comfortable life and not have to worry about needing help in the home.

“So, thank you for doing that for us, it's something I truly can’t put into words.”

Gary added: “It's a privilege to meet and act for those impacted by the appalling legacy of asbestos exposure such as Irena and her family.

“They have shown resilience and strength throughout this process, and I hope this settlement can provide them some closure after such a challenging time.

“Sadly, the avoidable consequences of the UK’s reckless industrial past continue to plague many families to this day.

“Digby Brown will continue to fight for families such as Irena’s to ensure that those individuals and organisations responsible are brought to justice for their carelessness.”

Legal help for industrial disease cases matters

We know the thought of legal action following the loss of a loved one can seem stressful, but we are here to guide you through the process.

Our Industrial Disease team has the expertise, resources and trusted reputation to make sure you, your family – and your absent loved one – secure the recognition, justice and damages you deserve.

If you think you have developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos at work, we would encourage you to contact our specialist mesothelioma solicitors as quickly as possible.