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£910,000 settlement for a 31-year-old care worker who alleged that she developed fibromyalgia as a result of a stressful work environment and which was subsequently exacerbated materially in two assaults at work. Marcus represented C. K denied the stress at work claim, but admitted breach of duty for the assaults.
C’s case was that but for the negligently dangerous workplace, that required her to work excessively long hours and exposed to unnecessarily excessive control and restraint manoeuvres, she would not have developed modest fibromyalgia that forced her to work light duties part time; further, had she not been exposes to two assaults a week apart in the course of those light duties, her fibromyalgia would not have flared up to the point where she was unable to work and required substantial care.
The claim was brought against the backdrop of a highly vulnerable woman who had been exposed to numerous objectively significant adverse life events which made her prone to somatising stress with physical symptoms.
K contended that the onset of fibromyalgia was unrelated to her workplace; any stress at work claim K contended would likely fail, because C failed to put it on notice early enough that she was struggling with the rotas at work. The C&R manoeuvres were an integral part of the role, and their frequency did not amount to a breach of duty.
K argued further that the downwards trajectory of her fibromyalgia was not accelerated materially by the assaults. She was a woman who was destined to go off work with a somatoform presentation in any event.
The case settled for the above sum following a joint settlement meeting six months before trial.