John Mullen plays an important role in the management of Thompsons Solicitors’ highly professional personal injury team covering the East and West Midlands. An experienced solicitor, John works from Thompsons’ Birmingham office, but his patch also encompasses the Stoke and Nottingham regions.
John holds a degree in law from the University of Northumbria, based in Newcastle. John then went to Chester College of Law and passed the Law Society examinations, before embarking on a training contract with a key firm of solicitors in 1986. Two years later John qualified as a solicitor.
John was employed by two respected firms before joining Rowley Ashworth in 1995, a firm of solicitors which merged with Thompsons Solicitors in 2009. In effect, he has worked for Thompsons for more than two decades specialising in personal injury claims.
John has a hands-on approach to the personal injury claims taken on by his team and combines his managerial responsibilities with his own caseload.
He has long experience in litigation under the COSHH regulations which cover the handling of hazardous chemicals. He has also taken many cases in the “manual handling” category in which injury has been caused by workers moving heavy objects. Other cases involve industrial deafness and injuries caused by vibrating machinery and equipment. His experience involves “multi-track” cases where compensation involves compensation between £25,000 and £500,000.
John’s cases involve a wide range of injury and illness, including those to the lungs, skin and multiple injuries. Some cases involve sight loss and others post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). On occasion, John has also won compensation for the families of those who have died through illness or serious injury.
John says that no other law firm has Thompsons’ proud record of exclusively representing those who have suffered through incompetence or negligence in the workplace, rather than those who are responsible for it.
Away from his demanding role at Thompsons Solicitors, John enjoys walking and cycling in Mediterranean countries.
JOHN’S CASE EXPERIENCE
Industrial disease claim: John played the lead role in the ground-breaking case of Wayne Coxall v Goodyear. In this case, Mr Coxall developed asthma after being exposed to fumes given off by lubricant paint applied to the inside of tyres. Management at the Goodyear tyre factory in Wolverhampton had failed to protect Mr Coxall from the fumes.
Initially Thompsons Solicitors won compensation of £7,500 for aggravation to an underlying respiratory condition. However, the employer appealed, arguing under Withers v Perry Chain Co Ltd that an employer was not under a duty to dismiss an employee from work which could not be safely undertaken because of his particular susceptibility.
Thompsons produced evidence that the works' doctor, line manager and health and safety manager all thought the claimant should cease work and they all regarded the matter as being their company’s responsibility. The defendants were attempting to shift “blame” to the employee himself and suggested that he should simply have left work.
The employers took their case to the Court of Appeal where they argued that the employer was not under a duty to dismiss pursuant to the Withers case. However, the Court of Appeal distinguished the Coxall case from Withers on the basis that the individual facts of the Coxall case were such that the failure on the employers’ part to dismiss the employee amounted to a breach of the employers’ duty. The initial judgement was upheld.
The case was widely reported, including in the Solicitors Journal, the Law Society Gazette and many other leading legal journals. It is still good case law today because it is distinct from the principle in Withers.
Industrial disease claim: John took action on behalf of 45 Severn Trent Water employees who were exposed to harmful hydrogen sulphide during their work as sewage workers. Total damages amounted to around £350,000.
Industrial disease claim: John acted for six claimants (five members of the Unite the union and one private client) in litigation against Aston Martin Lagonda Limited, in claims for occupational dermatitis where he secured compensation totalling just over £300,000.
In each case the exposure was to Betamate glue which is used to connect car parts to each other. The company had failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and failed to assess the risks to which they were exposed. The cases were all settled just before trial, highlighting the advantage that can be secured through proactive litigating.
John is a Law Society panel member.
Private client Graham Payne, who lost his sight in one eye and suffered psychological injury, said: “Following an accident at work in 2012, I was recommended by a friend to contact Thompsons Solicitors. I did so and was put in touch with John Mullen, who quickly arranged to come to my home to discuss the details of my accident. He put me at ease straight away and explained clearly and concisely how he would help with my case over the coming months.
"Mr Mullen contacted me regularly with ongoing updates and remained professional at all times, working tirelessly to ensure a satisfactory outcome to my case. I would have no hesitation in recommending Thompsons Solicitors.”