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SUN - Bank settles asbestos case

  1. 635 Posts.
    With this outstanding issue now settled Suncorp could see some wind in its sails. The stock is undervalued relative to the sector and is a BUY by many brokers.

    Bank settles asbestos case with ex-employee
    David Potter
    15may02
    SUNCORP Metway has settled out of court with a former employee who claimed to have contracted cancer from exposure to asbestos.

    Clerk Alan Martin, 47, was diagnosed with mesothelioma more than 12 months ago and was given 18 months to live.

    As revealed in The Courier-Mail on March 26, Mr Martin lodged a writ in the Supreme Court late last year seeking $975,000 damages for negligence against the State of Queensland and Suncorp Metway Ltd.

    The writ alleged Mr Martin contracted mesothelioma while working in the former SGIO building in Turbot St, Brisbane, from 1972 to 1985.

    From the 1950s to 1970s, asbestos was used in most public buildings. In 1984, the Trades and Labour Council identified more than 50 buildings in the state that contained asbestos insulation.

    In the SGIO building an asbestos-based lagging was sprayed on steel framework as a fire retardant.

    SGIO management contracted a company to remove asbestos from the building, a process which was thought to have been completed in the 1980s.

    In 1994, SGIO's successor Suncorp initiated legal proceedings against those charged with removing the material when traces of asbestos were found in the building. An out-of-court settlement was reached.

    Mr Martin claimed in the Supreme Court writ that Suncorp and/or the State Government "failed to ensure the SGIO building was free of significant levels of asbestos dust, when a reasonable employer and/or building owner and occupier would have done so".

    A Suncorp spokesman said yesterday that "the matter had been resolved". The agreement prevents Mr Martin and Suncorp from releasing details of the settlement.

    It is believed that no other claims against Suncorp have been lodged in relation to the asbestos in the city building.

    Mesothelioma, for which there is no cure, can take 20 to 30 years to appear in the system.

    In responding to the story about Mr Martin in March, Suncorp refused to admit liability for his condition.

    http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,4319031%255E3102,00.html
 
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