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What makes an injury 'actionable'? The Supreme Court offers some guidance - Joanna Lewis, Queen Square Chambers

11/10/18. Although Dryden v Johnson Matthey PLC [2018] UKSC 18 is a case involving industrial disease, the Supreme Court’s decision has wider significance in helping to clarify what makes a personal injury ‘actionable’.

The Facts

The Appellants worked for the Respondent in factories making catalytic converters. Platinum salts were used in the production process. The Respondent, in breach of health and safety duties, failed to ensure that the factories were properly cleaned and as a result the Appellants were exposed to platinum salts. This exposure led them to develop platinum salt sensitisation, a condition where the immune system produces IgE antibodies. This condition shows no symptoms but further exposure to platinum salts is likely to cause an allergic reaction with symptoms such as bronchial problems, rhinitis, or skin or eye irritation. When the Appellants sensitisation was detected, the Respondent no longer permitted them to work in areas where they might be exposed to platinum salts and develop reactions. The Appellants claimed they suffered financially because they had to take up different roles with the Respondent at a reduced rate of pay or because they had their employment terminated...

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