October 18, 2007
House of Lords Rejects Enhanced Risk, "Fear Of" Claims
The English House of Lords (the U.K.'s supreme court) has ruled, in a much-anticipated decision, that neither the increased risk of future injury nor the consequent emotional distress, without more, gives rise to a claim for damages. Such claims had been paid for many years in the U.K. until a ruling last year by the Court of Appeal. While several U.S. jurisdictions have recognized the claims of the "worried well," the Lords unanimously decided that without actual symptoms of a disease, there is no actionable claim. The ruling came in a case involving pleural plaques, a scarring of the lung membrane caused by exposure to asbestos. The plaques themselves are not symptoms of an asbestos-related disease, only symptoms of asbestos exposure. The Lords concluded that they do not represent "real damage" for which compensation must be paid. The decision has been roundly critisized by several workers' unions. See stories in the Telegraph and the Scotsman.
October 18, 2007 | Permalink
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