On April 29, justice condemned the State to compensate, for the prejudice of anxiety linked to exposure to asbestos, 32 former employees of the Normed shipyards in Dunkirk (North) before the first regulations of 1977 .

These former employees of the Société des Chantiers du Nord et de la Méditerranée, in good health “for the moment”, should receive an average of 2,000 euros, their lawyer, Me Frédéric Quinquis, told AFP on April 30, who is waiting for them. judgments for approximately 150 other applicants.

Three other people, who worked after 1977 on these sites where asbestos was used for thermal insulation of boats and to prevent the risk of fire, were dismissed.

To read also: Asbestos: will there be a trial one day?

Control bankruptcy

In one of the favorable judgments dated April 28, the Lille administrative court considers that the state has committed a “fault such as to engage its responsibility”. The court considers that the State did not take measures, in the 1960s, to avoid or limit the already known dangers linked to exposure to asbestos.

The judge also recognized that the State failed in its role of control, after 1977 and until the disappearance of the company at the end of the 1980s, by not sending the labor inspectorate to ensure compliance with regulations. But he considers that this absence can only be “at fault after a certain period”.

“The court followed the Council of State in its decision of December 18, 2020. It takes a ‘certain time’ for the fault to result in a causal link with the damage. But how long do you have to wait?”, regrets Me Quinquis.

A 2006 complaint

The ministry argued the statute of limitations, which the court rejected, in particular because a 2006 criminal complaint “is still being investigated”.

Tuesday, investigating judges from the public health pole of the Paris judicial court signed a dismissal in this case, but associations had to appeal.

“This leads us to believe that all the former Normed employees who worked on the site before October 20, 1977 are still eligible to file a claim for compensation, which will nevertheless be low,” says Me Quinquis.