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Neil Mackenzie- Recent Jury Trial Verdict

In the case of Henderson and another v Burntisland Shipbuilding Co Ltd and other, Neil Mackenzie, Advocate represented the defenders (alone and without a leader) in a jury trial that was presided over by Lord Bannatyne.  The pursuers were represented by Senior and Junior Counsel.  In this case Luke O’Donnell, a former employee of the defenders, died from mesothelioma (a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos). The defenders had admitted liability; in fact, in December 2012 they had paid damages to Mr O’Donnell’s estate, to his widow and daughters, one of whom was called Moia.  Moia was married to Daniel, whose daughters thus became her stepchildren and were the pursuers in the action.  The main issue for the jury was whether Moia’s stepdaughters were accepted by Mr O’Donnell as his granddaughters, as allowed in terms of s14 of the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011.  If so, what was their entitlement to damages in terms of s4(3)(b) of the 2011 Act?  On 26th June 2014, after 2 1/2 days of trial, the jury reached the unanimous verdict that they had not been accepted as Mr O’Donnell’s grandchildren.  Accordingly, no damages were payable by the defenders to the pursuers.


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