Essendon doctor diagnosed with mesothelioma wins bid for compensation
Essendon Football Club stalwart Bruce Reid will receive a $1.4 million payout after contracting an asbestos-related cancer.
The details of the seven-figure compensation can be revealed for the first time, seven months after the secret settlement was made on the eve of a Supreme Court trial.
The Bombers doctor of more than 36 years — who was cleared of all charges relating to the club’s controversial peptides program in the 2012 AFL season — was forced to stand down when diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2018.
He launched legal action against asbestos manufacturers Amaca Pty Ltd and Seltsam Pty Ltd after uncovering he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres during the construction of his Yarrambat home from late 1975 to 1976.
Dr Reid, now 74, would regularly visit the Bannons Lane property during the six-month construction period.
On October 30, the morning a jury was set to be empanelled for the civil trial, the parties agreed to settle.
But Amaca and Seltsam quibbled over who should pay the bulk of the damages, delaying Dr Reid’s payout.
His wait ended this week when the Supreme Court ordered Seltsam pay 70 per cent and Amaca 30 per cent.
Justice Rita Incerti found both defendants had manufactured asbestos products used on the house, including cement used to line the veranda eaves, storeroom and carport ceilings and for the bathroom tile underlay. But she found the exposure to the Seltsam product was “of more relative importance”.
Justice Incerti said Dr Reid, when giving evidence in a special hearing in November, was an “impressive witness” who was “completely truthful and did not embellish or exaggerate”.
Dr Reid told the court he visited the 8ha property up to three times a week to observe construction and help clean up, including sweeping up dust and debris inside and outside the house.
Justice Incerti ruled there was “no evidence” Dr Reid was exposed to asbestos at another time or location.
The Bombers and past and present players have thrown their support behind Dr Reid, his wife, Judy, and their five children, since his diagnosis.
“Reidy’s health and wellbeing are our number one priority during this difficult time,” club chief executive Xavier Campbell said in 2018.
Dr Reid could not be contacted for comment.
The doctor joined Kevin Sheedy at the Bombers in 1982 after spending time as Richmond’s club doctor when Sheedy played with the Tigers.
He also played three AFL games with Hawthorn in the late 1960s.
Article originally appeared in Herald Sun.