Remember that Kuciemba case I reported on a bit previously? Well, it didn’t work out so well for the plaintiffs.
Mr. and Mrs. Kuciemba sued the husband's private employer on a theory that he was exposed to COVID-19 in the course of his employment duties and then brought it home to his wife. Both were hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.
Previously, the trial judge in the Kuciemba matter dismissed the claim with leave to amend, reasoning that it should be confined to the workers' compensation system, declining to apply the reasoning used for asbestos litigation to COVID-19.
Well, even after amending the claim, the trial judge found insufficient basis to proceed and dismissed it. So, at least for now, employers can breathe a bit easier about the fallout of COVID-19 exposure to their employees, to wit, employees’ family members claiming downstream exposure and suing for negligence.
That being said, it was the California Supreme Court that opened up asbestos litigation for family members of employees. We should all agree to keep watch over this for developments up the chain of appeals.
Gregory Grinberg is managing partner of Gale, Sutow & Associates’ S.F. Bay South office and a certified specialist in workers’ compensation law. This post is reprinted with permission from Grinberg’s WCDefenseCA blog.
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