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On Friday 15 December 2006, the District Court of South Australia handed down its first ever decision under the Dust Diseases Act 2005 and awarded Mr. Trevor Reynolds, a 66-year-old Adelaide man suffering from mesothelioma a sum of $326,048.83.

Trevor’s fight

Mr. Reynolds was in good health until September 2005, working as a sub-contractor tow truck operator. He planned to keep working until he was at least aged 70 years. In September 2005, Mr. Reynolds suffered a chest infection. After further symptoms and investigations, he was diagnosed in January 2006 with mesothelioma. He was devastated by the diagnosis. Mr. Reynolds was exposed to asbestos from January 1956 until August 1961 as an apprentice fitter and turner with the South Australian Railways at the Islington Railyards.

Mr. Reynolds commenced proceedings against the Commonwealth (who have assumed the liabilities of the South Australian Railways) initially in the Dust Diseases Tribunal of New South Wales and was subsequently transferred to the District Court of South Australia. Mr. Reynolds’ condition deteriorated and his evidence was heard by the District Court of South Australia at his home on 4 September 2006. The rest of the matter was heard by the District Court on 6, 7 & 8 December 2006 before Judge Soulio.

Turner Freeman acted for Mr. Reynolds.

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