Family of Sunderland man given six-figure sum after his death from asbestos-related cancer

David and Pamela Givens.
David and Pamela Givens.

The widow of a Sunderland man has been awarded a six-figure payout after he was found to have died from asbestos-related cancer which he contracted during his work days.

David Givens, a joiner, died in August 2015, aged 63, after being diagnosed with the disease in February 2012.

David Givens.

David Givens.

Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and is caused by exposure to asbestos often decades before symptoms begin to show.

Before his death, David instructed solicitors to investigate where he was exposed to asbestos and why more was not done by his employers to protect him.

However, this, and another subsequent investigation by another law firm, failed to resolve the case.

In March 2016 his widow Pamela, 60, instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to handle David’s case.

Fourteen months later, a settlement was secured for Pamela and her and David’s children, Kelly, Christopher, Mark and David.

Pamela’s legal team believed that David came into contact with the fatal asbestos dust during his time at John Cummings and Son of East Hendon Road, Sunderland, where his uncle Ronnie Armbruster, who died of asbestos-related cancer in the 1990s, was foreman.

Emma Tordoff, a solicitor and specialist asbestos disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office who is representing Pamela, said: “This case is sadly like a number we are involved in, with a person going on to develop a very serious condition and sadly pass away as a result of asbestos exposure which is believed to have occurred several decades ago.

“We hope that the settlement we have secured will enable Pamela and her children to try and move on with their lives following David’s tragic passing at only 63.”

The end to the legal action was only possible thanks to a number of David’s former colleagues answering an appeal by Pamela to come forward with information on the presence of asbestos at John Cummings and Son.

Pamela, who is known as Pam to her friends and family and had been married to David for almost 35 years when he passed away, said: “Although I am happy that the legal action has reached a positive conclusion, nothing is going to bring back my husband and this is still something I find myself having to come to terms with.

“I hope that David’s story will help raise awareness of mesothelioma and make people think twice before they open up themselves to asbestos exposure.

“Finally, I want to say a sincere and heartfelt thank you to all of David’s former colleagues who came forward and provided my legal team with the vital information that enabled this to reach a positive conclusion.”