Compensation for South African Asbestos Claimants
On 21 December, 2001, Mr. Justice Wright stayed further judicial proceedings in the case Afrika v. Cape PLC, formerly the Cape Asbestos Company Ltd., after a conditional agreement worth over £21 million ($30 million) had been reached. Solicitor Richard Meeran, whose firm Leigh, Day & Co. represented many of the South African asbestos victims, said: "It’s not a victory, but if you look at where we started a few years ago, when everyone told us we were wasting our time, it’s a good result." A sum of £11 million will be paid into a new Trust Fund by Cape by 30 June, 2002. The balance will be paid in instalments of £1 million a year. Awards will be made to the 7,500 claimants according to the severity of their disease: a maximum of £5250 for mesothelioma, £3250 for asbestosis, £2500 for pleural thickening and £800 for pleural plaques. The plaintiffs’ lawyers, understanding that a larger award might force Cape into insolvency, were determined to achieve a "meaningful" settlement for the injured. Senior officials of the South African Government believe that the amount offered would be welcomed by the claimants.
December 22, 2001