Coleman goes mining for new business down in South Africa

The Irish Times revealed last week that Dave Coleman and Michael Lavelle, the founding partners of high-profile Dublin law firm Lavelle Coleman, are set to go their separate ways after almost 30 years in business together. The split is expected to be confirmed later this year.

Coleman, it seems, has been spending much of his time lately down in South Africa, where he has been working on cases involving gold miners who contracted an incurable lung disease from severe dust build ups in mine shafts.

The National Union of Mineworkers believes that up to 50,000 South African miners may have contracted the condition.

Major mining companies, such as Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields, have been hit with a blizzard of class-action lawsuits. An industry fund has been set up to try and compensate sick miners, but has been accused of trying to stall the compensation.

Coleman, who specialises in multi-party actions and recently fought a mass lawsuit by disgruntled investors against ACC, has been working in conjunction with Cape Town-based firm Xulu Liversage to sign up sick miners.

“In fairness to the mines, they can only deal with what is in front of them, [but] we are now in front of them. We recognise the difficulties in bringing about a solution but jaw-jaw is better than war-war,” Coleman told a local journalist.

Meanwhile, I hear that Metlife, the insurance company, may expand into the space that will soon be vacated by Lavelle Coleman at their plush €20 million office building on Hatch Street in Dublin, once the split takes place.