Penelope Garner v (1) Salford City Council (2) P McGuiness & Co Ltd. (2013)

Miss Garner contracted mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure. It was alleged that the exposure came from the demolition of some swimming baths adjacent to her school as a child. The claimant, and other former pupils of the school, provided evidence that dust from the demolition spread into the school playground and that they were unaware of any attempts to limit the spread of dust. The defendant and his employees provided evidence that the building was demolished one story at a time as was customary in cases such as this. The defendant also stated that water was used to prevent the spread of dust.

The court held that  it was likely some dust from the demolition drifted into the school playground. The court also held it was likely dust from other demolitions within the area drifted into the school playground. The court found on the evidence that the boiler room pipes contained asbestos lagging but that the lagging was removed while still in the boiler room and that it was likely water was used to soak it prior to removal. Given the findings of fact, the court concluded the chances of the dust containing asbestos were minimal. The court could not rule out the possibility of some dust containing asbestos being present in the playground but that the exposure would not have exceeded the controlled levels of the time.