England

Man wins £275k payout for school asbestos exposure

  • 17 July 2014
  • From the section England
Chris Wallace
Chris Wallace claimed he was exposed to asbestos while at schools in Devon during the 1980s and 90s

A man who claims he developed terminal cancer after being exposed to asbestos while a schoolboy in Devon has been given a council payout of £275,000.

Chris Wallace, 36, was diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer of an organ lining - or mesothelioma - at 30.

Devon County Council has settled a claim from him just a few weeks before the case went to court. The award was made without an admission of liability.

The council said it took "great care to manage asbestos in its buildings".

Mr Wallace, who has peritoneal mesothelioma - which develops in tissues covering the abdomen - said he attended Yeo Valley Primary School, Yeo Valley Junior School, South Molton Juniors and South Molton Community College between 1982 and 1993.

He worked with Boyes Turner solicitors and said he collated examples of when he may have been in contact with asbestos.

Mr Wallace, who now lives in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, said: "It was a very difficult case, having to prove you were there and that you were exposed to a certain level.

"The council has to take a large chunk of responsibility They know it's in the building and children are at risk of getting to it.

"It's down to them to ensure it's removed safely."

Devon County Council said it was a "unique case" and the only time a former pupil had taken such legal action.

It said: "Devon County Council takes great care to manage asbestos in its buildings and that includes regular inspections. Asbestos is safe as long as it isn't disturbed.

"All Devon schools have been surveyed for asbestos and each school holds a full record of any asbestos in its buildings."

Mesothelioma can lie dormant for up to 40 years.

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