A man from Bedford is fighting to take his legal battle to the Supreme Court as he and two colleagues fight for compensation against a FTSE 100 company.
Waynsworth Dryden worked in Johnson Matthey’s chemical plants, refining metals to make catalytic converters. Platinum salts can be released into the air during this process.
Now he and his former colleagues Tony Cipullo and Simon York, are engaged in a long-running legal battle with the firm, and have launched a crowdfunding page appealing for public help.
Johnson Matthey admitted that they had exposed the men to harmful levels of the platinum salts. This exposure to the salts meant that all three men became ‘sensitised’, meaning that the men can no longer work in an environment where these salts might be present.
The men were all dismissed, losing their livelihoods.
In November 2014 the men took the Johnson Matthey to the High Court and the company admitted it had been negligent, but argued it was not legally responsible for the lost wages as, they argued, the men were not ‘injured’.
The firm said that it did not matter – legally speaking – that the men had been dismissed, and the courts accepted this argument.
However the three men then challenged this verdict at the Court of Appeal earlier this year.
The Court of Appeal decided that what the men were asking them to decide upon was so significant, and novel, that it could only be achieved at the level of the Supreme Court and therefore refused to overturn the decision of the judge in the High Court.
The three men have launched the crowdfunding page to protect them from having to pay the company’s costs should they not be successful in the Supreme Court. The legal team believe that the men have a strong and just case to win.
In a joint statement published on their crowd funding page, the men describe the impact of the decision on their lives.
They said: “The effects on our lives and those of our families have been huge. We have lost our jobs through no fault of our own. The effects are not simply financial but relate to all those things that go with having a secure job – that you trained for and enjoyed – but can no longer do.
“However, Johnson Matthey have refused to compensate us for the effects of their negligence because they say that we have not sustained ‘legal injury’. They basically say we have to be suffering from symptoms.
“This never used to be their approach. In the past, Johnson Matthey would accept responsibility where workers like us had been affected. But they decided to make a ‘test case’ out of our situation. They want to avoid accepting responsibility for those who have the same problem in the future.
“We think that they should keep the factory clean and safe rather than trying to avoid responsibility afterwards.”