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Family of former Bloom's waiter settles asbestos case out of court

23 March 2012
Family of former Bloom's waiter settles asbestos case out of court

The case of a former waiter at London restaurant Bloom's who died of an asbestos-related disease has been settled for £70,790 in the week it was due to go to trial.

Miltiades Charalambous, known as Milton, died aged 70 of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, on 8 March 2010, just two months after being diagnosed with the disease.

His family believes he was exposed to asbestos dust while working in the basement of London's iconic kosher restaurant, Bloom's on Whitechapel High Street, when he would stand near an old boiler, sorting the linen.

An inquest into his death in September 2010 confirmed Charalambous died as a result of mesothelioma, but Bloom's, where he worked for more than 30 years, denied the exposure took place on their premises resulting in the matter going to trial.

Asbestos specialists at law firm Irwin Mitchell were able to negotiate a settlement on the morning the trial was due to begin.

Nicola Maier, an asbestos-related disease expert at Irwin Mitchell, represented the family.

Maier said: "The past 18 months have been very difficult for Milton's family as they've struggled to come to terms with their loss. He was a larger-than-life character and they've all been left devastated by his sudden and unexpected death.

"The settlement secured today means the family will be provided for and they can now start to move forward with their lives knowing there has been some justice for the huge loss they suffered."

The married father-of-three and grandfather-of-nine emigrated from Cyprus to Finsbury Park in the mid-1960s and began working at Bloom's as a waiter, where one of his jobs involved folding laundry in the boiler room.

Judge Martin McKenna at London's High Court was given statements on behalf of the family which claimed "the atmosphere in the basement was dusty and contaminated with asbestos fibres".

Milton's daughter, Helen Michael, said: "We were all absolutely devastated at dad's sudden death and we were desperate for answers as to who was responsible for him coming into contact with asbestos.

"He loved working at Bloom's restaurant and being part of what he described was an institution in the local community.

"We're relieved that my father's case has now been settled and we can share our memories of him without this hanging over us."

Asbestos in the building >>

Hazardous waste >>

Dealing with asbestos >>

By Janie Manzoori-Stamford

E-mail your comments to Janie Manzoori-Stamford here.

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