Litigation over organophosphates

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7126.231 (Published 17 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:231

Courts have found organophosphates to have serious long term effects in three cases

  1. John Melville Williams, Queen's counsela,
  2. Daniel Brennan, Queen's counselb
  1. aOld Square Chambers, Gray's Inn, London WC1R 5LQ
  2. b39 Essex Street, London WC2R 3AT
  3. cDe Montfort University, Leicester LE7 9SU
  4. *Andrew Watterson provided an expert report on the occupational health and safety aspects of the Hill case but was not an expert witness in the case.
  5. dLondon NW1 7EG

    Editor-We were counsel for the plaintiffs in the actions over organophosphates by Hill in England and Phillips in Hong Kong. We were therefore interested to read Dyer's news item on the Hill case, which referred briefly to the Phillips case and the Australian case of McKenzie.1 Unfortunately, Dyer's account gives only a partial picture of these cases, which may affect claims by sheep dippers in Britain and, perhaps, people who served in the Gulf war.

    Dr Goran Jamal was a witness in all three cases, and his evidence was a key factor in the success of the plaintiffs in both the Hong Kong and the Australian cases. He gave evidence in the Hill case both on his neurophysiological examination of the plaintiff and his conclusions and on the effects of organophosphates generally, including their long term neurobehavioural and neuropsychological effects. That part of his evidence, including his review of the literature, formed the basis for the judge's decision on those long term effects. On that issue of causation the plaintiff established his case, although the judge also found that other matters, for which the defendants were not liable, affected his symptoms. Hill, however, had no symptoms attributable to neurophysiological factors, so that that evidence was …

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