Simon Lowes, who was exposed to asbestos as a very young child and years later fought a tenacious and winning battle with James Hardie over compensation, has passed away.

Magnified image of asbestos.Simon was 47 and had survived with the deadly asbestos disease mesothelioma for almost a decade.

When Simon was diagnosed with mesothelioma he initially had no idea where he had been exposed to asbestos. Then, after much investigation, Simon and his legal team realised that as a boy he had played in asbestos waste dumped by James Hardie around a miniature railway in Perth. Simon would visit the railway with his family during the early 1970s and play in the scraps. More than 30 years later Simon developed the deadly asbestos cancer.

Simon took on James Hardie and ultimately won a $2.07 million Supreme Court verdict in 2009.

Simon’s lawyer, Michael Magazanik, this week remembered Simon’s courage. “Simon was an extremely brave man. His determination and humour in the face of that illness was extraordinary. Working for him was a privilege.”

Read the full article in The West Australian here.


As a child in the 1950s, Marian Ciopicz and his friends frequently played in asbestos waste at the back of the Wunderlich asbestos factory in Sunshine, Melbourne.

Arial shot of Wunderlich asbestos factory.Many years later Mr Ciopicz developed asbestosis as a result of those childhood games and after battling asbestosis for two years he died in October 2014.

Wunderlich denied the compensation claim brought by Mr Ciopicz and, later, his family. But after a hard fought Supreme Court trial, a jury awarded the Ciopicz family $467,000 in damages in 2015.

Lawyers Michael Magazanik and Grace Wilson (now of Rightside Legal, then at Slater & Gordon) represented the Ciopicz family. It was the first asbestosis claim in Victoria to go to a jury verdict in a decade.

Read the full story in The Age here.