An RAF corporal who was left with a devastating degenerative neurological condition after he was exposed to dangerous chemicals has won a groundbreaking legal victory at the Court of Appeal. Shaun Wood, 52, was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy-P (MSAP), an incurable condition related to Parkinson's Disease that affects the nervous system, after exposure to organic solvents as a painter and finisher at RAF sites across the world (Risks 500). Last week, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the MoD bringing to an end Mr Wood's 18-year-battle for justice. It ruled that on the evidence presented - which was not rebutted by the MoD - that there was in legal terms a 'probable connection' between heavy solvent exposure and neurological damage. The decision paves the way for other people who develop neurological conditions in similar circumstances to pursue compensation. Mr Wood, who now has to use a wheelchair, said: 'I come from a military family and making the decision to pursue compensation went against my instincts but when I die my wife will be left without an income because my war pension will be taken away and I have always wanted to ensure that she is provided for in the future.' Representing Mr Wood, Andrew McDonald from Thompsons Solicitors said: 'This is the first time there has been any adjudication of the link between organic solvents and this kind of neurological damage. We expect that this decision could be used favourably for other claimants who have developed neurological conditions in similar circumstances.' The case will now be transferred to Middlesbrough High Court where damages will be awarded. Mr Wood's job involved painting aircraft and motor vehicles for sometimes in excess of 12 hours a day at solvent exposure levels up to 20 times the official maximum exposure limit. The solvents included cancer-causing trichloroethylene and dichloromethane, now banned by the European Union for consumer use. He was medically discharged from the RAF in 1995, two years after his Parkinson's was diagnosed.
Briefing document (400 words) issued 15 Jul 2011
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printed 22 May 2013 at 23:26 hrs by 22.214.171.124