Insurance lawyers argue against laws to help asbestos victims asserting part of their suffering ‘is a good thing’

03 Sep

True to tradition, when faced with the possibility of payout due to negligence in any field, be it medical, legal or financial, the lawyers are wheeled out on behalf of affected organisations to argue against any legislation or reforms which may adversely affect their paymasters.

People and lives are far too small a thing to get in the way of money, and anything, any argument can be presented as being honourable or sane, no matter how dirty or beneath contempt it may sound …

This is exactly what happened on Tuesday when insurance lawyers attended the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee hearings on the Damages (Scotland) Billl, to argue against the legislation which is intended to overturn the recent House of Lords ruling against compensation to asbestos victims.

Lawyers for the insurance industry went so far to argue the case that the ‘pleural plaques’ “are simply the body’s physiological response to the presence of foreign fibres.” and are thus ‘a good thing’

Dr Pamela Abernethy of Messrs Simpson & Marwick & the Forum of Insurance Lawyers : ‘plaques are a good thing’

I found Dr Pamela Abernethy’s presence on behalf of the insurers not much of a surprise, as she works for the well known Edinburgh legal firm of Simpson & Marwick WS, who are also lead representatives to the Master Insurance Policy of the Law Society of Scotland which insures all solicitors from negligence and other financial claims from clients who have been wronged by their ‘crooked lawyer’.

You can find out just how honest the Master Policy of the Law Society is here : Marsh UK and corrupt practices in insuring crooked lawyers

I of course know Simpson & Marwick very well as they defended Scotland’s most famous crooked lawyerAndrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso and believe me, no dirty trick was too low for S&M, Marsh and the Law Society of Scotland to throw against me, as I have covered in previous articles you can read along with the Scotsman coverage as a summary here : Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso -The Scotsman stories

Suffice to say … Simpson & Marwick are no friend of asbestos victims by the sounds of things .. or for that, anyone who ends up at the mercy of a crooked lawyer, accountant or other so-called ‘professional;

Now that I see legal agents to Marsh UK appearing in the story, I would just like to remind you all that Marsh UK also provide the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament with a wide range of insurance services for many of their departments, which also includes indemnity insurance coverage of the type which Dr Abernethy specialises in. This also includes providing insurance services to the over one hundred lawyers working for the Government Legal Service for Scotland who get their annual subscriptions paid for by the taxpayer !

To sum that up, the lawyers arguing against the Damages (Scotland) Bill, are insured by the same insurers who are arguing against the Damages (Scotland) Bill, and who also insure the same Scottish Government who are sponsoring the legislation to help asbestos claims overcome the recent House of Lords ruling against pleural plaques.

Anyone think there may be some problems ahead ? Having the same insurers, legal firms and professional indemnity insurers all mixed up with the Government, the Parliament and even the lawyers of asbestos victims ?

I am not particularly surprised by the lengths the insurance industry will go to prevent themselves having to pay out over asbestos claims, or any claim involving negligence.

The legal profession has been conducting this exact same policy for decades, arguing that solicitors abusing clients is actually a good thing, and those solicitors, albeit crooked, shouldn’t need to pay out for their misdeeds .. the only difference of course, is that precious few politicians are willing to speak out on such issues, as the various professions and industries usually fund their political parties.

Well, at least the Convener of the Justice Committee, Bill Aitken, will know all about the ways of the insurance industry and their lawyers against claimants, as Mr Aitken spent most of his life working in it.

I also note the same insurance firms which are arguing against paying out to asbestos victims and are trying to kill this piece of legislation, also insure Scotland’s legal profession for negligence …. an interesting coincidence which may see some fancy footwork by friendly politicians to the insurance industry later on as the Damages (Scotland) Bill progresses through Parliament …

You can see more of the testimony from the legal team of the insurance industry arguing against the Damages (Scotland) Bill here :

Bill Butler MSP giving the Insurance industry lawyers a hard time on the argument that suffering is a good thing …

The Damages (Scotland) Bill should succeed in its effort to reverse the unjust ruling from the House of Lords against asbestos sufferers, and on that, I must at least commend the SNP for their effort in this area, if the effort is pressed home to the successful passage of the Bill into Law.

The Herald reports :

MSPs attack lawyer on claim asbestos plaques are ‘good’

ROBBIE DINWOODIE, Chief Scottish Political Correspondent

Insurance lawyers and MSPs have clashed over claims that the lung-scarring condition pleural plaques could be a “good thing” because it proved the body’s defences were working.

The insurance industry yesterday argued strongly against proposed Holyrood legislation designed to overturn a House of Lords ruling that compensation for the condition should be scrapped because there was no proof that it was harmful. Bill Butler, Labour MSP, was among those who repeatedly questioned industry experts on their definition of the condition.

Dr Pamela Abernethy, of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, said: “The consensus is that pleural plaques are simply the body’s physiological response to the presence of foreign fibres.”

She said the fibres were then “walled off,” adding: “The body’s defence system is operating to prevent them from causing harm.

“My submission is that plaques are a good thing, they don’t cause harm. These plaques are markers of exposure to asbestos.”

Pressed on the statement, she said the presence of the condition was unreliable because people without plaques could develop illness.

Dr Abernethy was giving evidence to MSPs over the Damages (Asbestos-Related Conditions) (Scotland) Bill. The bill is intended to reverse a decision by the House of Lords that people with the condition cannot claim compensation. Defenders of the plan, including Clydeside Action On Asbestos, said the scarring on lungs indicated past exposure to asbestos and could point to a higher risk of developing mesothelioma, a deadly cancer.

Gilbert Anderson, the forum’s regional representative for Scotland, said the bill was “well-intentioned” but wrong in law. Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health at the Association of British Insurers, said his stance against the bill was based on the House of Lords decision.

“Pleural plaques are benign. They do not have any symptoms associated with them, except in the most exceptional of cases.”

However, Harry McCluskey from Clydeside Action On Asbestos said: “To me there should be no argument here today. Pleural plaques should be compensated.”


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