Asbestos: the State will have to compensate former mariners

The Council of State rejected an appeal in cassation by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, confirming the compensation for “moral damage” linked to the asbestos of seventeen former employees of the National Navy, we learned on Saturday May 14. “The appeal of the Minister of Armies is rejected” and “the State will pay a sum of €3,000 under article L.761-1 of the code of administrative justice” to the seventeen former soldiers who had taken legal action, indicates the decision of the highest administrative court rendered on Friday May 13.

The case had been examined by the administrative court of Rennes in June 2019, then by the administrative court of appeal of Rennes which had confirmed on the merits, in January 2021, the judgment of first instance. A prejudice of anxiety had been recognized for about sixty former mariners. The Ministry of the Armed Forces then seized the Council of State, asking that seventeen of them show anxiety.

“Prejudice of Anxiety”

The former employees, most of whom were state seamen who had spent part of their career on board French Navy vessels, had taken legal action for having been, in their functions, exposed to the risk of inhaling asbestos dust. present on these vessels.

According to their request, they were exposed to a high risk of developing a serious pathology likely to cause compensable anxiety damage. Banned in France since 1er January 1997, asbestos can lead to respiratory diseases years later: pleurisy, asbestosis, broncho-pulmonary cancers and mesothelioma.

The industrial tribunal expands the asbestos-related anxiety prejudice

“The culpable deficiency of the State, in relation to asbestos dust, has been recognized”estimated the public rapporteur in charge of the file quoted by the newspaper West FranceApril 21. “The soldiers embarked on the ships of the French Navy have the right to be compensated for this prejudice of anxiety, either because of the handling of asbestos or because of the specificities of their living conditions on board in a confined environment. . Applicants do not have to prove the anxiety itself”, added the magistrate. Conclusions which were therefore followed by the Council of State.


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