Employers can’t be held liable when employees contract COVID-19 on the job and unfold it to their family members, California’s prime court docket has dominated, siding with enterprise teams that warned of a possible flood of litigation.
The seven-member California Supreme Court docket on Thursday dominated unanimously that permitting so-called “take-home COVID” claims may encourage companies to undertake precautions that gradual the supply of providers to the general public or to close down fully throughout pandemics.
A girl named Corby Kuciemba filed the lawsuit, saying she turned significantly in poor health when her husband contracted COVID at his job with Nevada-based Victory Woodworks Inc in 2020 at a building web site in San Francisco and handed it to her.
A ruling in favor of Kuciemba would have turned each employer in California into a possible defendant, the court docket stated, even when the corporate had taken cheap steps to stop the unfold of the virus or when it’s not possible to show that workers contracted COVID at work.
“Even limiting an obligation of care to workers’ family members, the pool of potential plaintiffs could be monumental, numbering not hundreds however thousands and thousands of Californians,” Justice Carol Corrigan wrote for the court docket.
William Bogdan, a lawyer representing Victory Woodworks, stated the ruling was vital despite the fact that the pandemic is over as a result of there’s a two-year window beneath California legislation to sue for negligence.
“The court docket acknowledged that employers and the courts could be overwhelmed” if it allowed take dwelling COVID lawsuits, Bogdan stated.
A lawyer for Kuciemba didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The state court docket took the case after the San Francisco-based ninth U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals final yr requested it to determine whether or not California legislation acknowledges negligence claims in opposition to employers when employees unfold COVID to family members. The ninth Circuit is contemplating Kuciemba’s bid to revive her lawsuit after it was dismissed by a federal choose. After Thursday’s ruling, the ninth Circuit is anticipated to uphold that call.
Enterprise teams had argued that permitting “take-home COVID” claims may immediate lawsuits by an contaminated worker’s household and buddies, and anybody contaminated by that circle of individuals, making a unending chain of legal responsibility.