“I remain relatively confident about the case of asbestos,” Mr. Ledoux, lawyer

INTERVIEW. Michel Ledoux, counsel to various asbestos victims, explains to Batiactu why he is not so worried as a non-place seems to be drawing in the folder of the victims of asbestos.
The public prosecutor of Paris requested the investigations in twenty records related to the scandal of asbestos. The component criminal is heading towards a non-place, to the great anger of the associations of defence of victims. The judges motivated their decision by stating that “the diagnosis of a pathology related to asbestos, the evidence of intoxication, but does not allow the dating of the exposure or contamination”. But Michel Ledoux, lawyer of the victims, is for the moment not more worried that this is for the future of the procedure. He tells us why.


Batiactu : How would you analyze the position of the prosecutor ?


Michel Ledoux : The prosecutor of the Republic and the judges have misunderstood the expertise report filed in February 2017, on which they rely to justify their position. To understand this, it must be remembered that in a criminal case, there is a fault, a damage and a causal link. In the case that occupies us, the fault, it is the one that have committed several companies exposing their employees to asbestos without putting in place means of individual protection or collective ; the damage, it is the disease of exposed employees ; and the causal link, it is obvious, it is the exposure to asbestos. However, the prosecution considers that this link is problematic, because the judges are thinking in terms of contamination and non-exposure. However, it is the exposure which allows the asbestos fibers to aggregate in the alveoli of the lung and migrate to the pleura.


BA : as a lawyer of the victims, what will be your approach ?

M. L. :
We have three months to submit briefs to the judges to make them understand this point. For the time being, they shape a matter of public health as the contaminated blood on the problem of asbestos. But the two subjects are different. In addition, if the reasoning of the prosecutor was fair, this would make impossible the continuation of an employer who would be exposed, without protection, one of its employees to a carcinogen, mutagen or reprotoxic (CMR). This is why I’m not especially worried for the victims. I remain relatively confident. For me, there is no problem on the causal link.


BA : How do you explain the prosecutor’s decision ?

M. L. :
The co-investigating judges and prosecutors want all this to end by an order of non-lieu. There is no political will to pursue investigations, they are looking for it does matter what the pretext. That said, for the time being, nothing is acquired. The only decision that the prosecution has taken, this is the one to finish the statement. We are at the stage where the prosecutor gives his opinion on it, after which opens the three-month period so that we can assert our opinion. If it turns out that we came out on a non-place, then we shall challenge this decision.

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