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Legal News :: Monthly Digest : May 2006


Gay estate agency's discrimination
The Brighton employment tribunal has found Britain's first lesbian and gay estate agency guilty of sex discrimination after it ruled that the owner sacked an employee because she was pregnant.
The tribunal upheld Corrina Slow's claim for unfair dismissal and ordered the estate agency to pay her £13,000 in compensation.


£100,000 damages for Elton over 'bizarre edict' claim
Sir Elton John has accepted £100,000.00 libel damages after a newspaper made allegations that he ordered guests at his charity ball not to approach him during the event.
A hearing in London was told that the proceedings related to articles published by the Daily Mail in June 2005. Following a complaint from Sir Elton's lawyers, the Daily Mail promptly published an apology to him.
The defendant apologised to Sir Elton for the distress it caused him and agreed to pay "substantial" damages. The newspaper has also contractually undertaken not to repeat the allegations and pay Sir Elton's legal costs.


Woman wins Medical Negligence Claim
Jean Blair the mother of a baby left with severe disabilities after medical malpractice has won an award of £5million on behalf of her daughter after a seven-year compensation claim.
Zoe Blair, now 32, was starved of oxygen in the womb just before she was born at South Tyneside Hospital in February 1974. As a result, she was left with severe cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, only able to communicate with head movements. Zoe will never be independent and will require care and support for the rest of her life.”
A compensation claim was made against the Gateshead and South Tyneside Healthcare NHS Trust, which was responsible for the running of the hospital at the time of the incident.
Using the money won in the compensation claim, Zoe and her family have now moved from Newcastle to a specially-adapted million-pound home in Essex. The £5million will be paid to the family in a lump sum of £2.9million plus several periodical payments over the coming years.


Naz faces a car accident claim after dangerous driving
A driver has been left with horrific injuries after being hit by boxer Naseem Hamed in his Mercedes McLaren. Hamed was driving at 90mph at the time of the smash. The hurt driver 39 year old Anthony Burgin was in intensive care for a month and has now decided to make a car accident claim against Hamed.
Hamed now embarking on a 15 month prison sentence, decided to overtake on the brow of a hill and smashed head on into Burgin’s car causing horrific personal injuries.
Burgin suffered from a smashed left leg. He also broke both upper and lower arms, his right thigh, several ribs and injured his spine. As a result of several operations, his left leg is now nearly 2ins shorter than his right. Burgin also suffered swelling to part of his brain; his vision was affected and he may never work again.
The Burgin family feel that making a car accident claim may go some way to helping them move on with their lives.. The money may help recompense Mr Burgin, enabling him to get the best medical care and improve his quality of life as much as is now possible.


Ex-footballer wins compensation claim after career ending tackle
Ex-Scunthorpe United and Bolton Wanderers midfielder Peter Morrison has been awarded more than £400,000 in an out-of-court settlement, for a tackle that ended his career. He was playing in a reserve match for Scunthorpe on February 14th 2001, when Grimsby Town defender Ben Chapman made a late tackle that resulted him in being sent off and the game was subsequently abandoned.
The challenge caused a double compound fracture of the leg, resulting in his tibia and fibula bones sticking out of the skin. Mr Morrison is now working as a sports agent


New ruling on mesothelioma sufferers
A new ruling by the House of Lords may affect the chances of thousands of sufferers of asbestos-related diseases receiving full compensation for their suffering.
The Times Law Report of May 3rd 2006 states the Lords held that “where a worker had contracted mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos dust by more than one employer, his damages were to be apportioned among the persons responsible for the exposure according to their relative degree of contribution to the chance of the worker contracting the disease”.
Before this ruling, a sufferer who had been wrongfully exposed to asbestos dust at different times by more than one employer could sue any one of them for their suffering in total.


Schoolboy wins personal injury claim
15 year old Ty McNamara, has successfully sued the Ridings School in Ovenden, Halifax, over an accident on school premises three years ago. He had tripped over a rope and collided with a wall during a PE lesson, breaking his wrist.
The school nurse initially diagnosed bruising and gave him an ice-pack. He was told to wait in reception but was eventually allowed to telephone his mother who, took him to hospital immediately.
The personal injury claim eventually ended in an out-of-court settlement and the exact amount of injury compensation has not been revealed.


Company fined after work
A construction company has been fined £50,000 (£20,000 for breaching health and safety regulations and also ordered to pay £30,000 in costs) after a work accident at a building site in Middlesex.
The company CET Group of Maidstone were fined at London Magistrates’ Court after investigators discovered CET had not carried out a proper risk assessment before Mr Cousins was instructed to use the machinery. In addition, the drill was not fitted with adequate protection and its emergency stop button was faulty.
An action was brought by the Health and Safety Executive after 42-year-old Mark Cousins suffered injuries having been dragged into a lorry-mounted rotating drill as he dug a borehole for the company in March 2004.
Mr Cousins was left with a shattered forearm, a broken femur, a smashed humerus, damaged ribs and severe bruising as a result of the work accident. It is not known whether he will make a personal injury compensation claim against his former employers.


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