Companies Now Can Be Held Liable When Workers Bring Home Asbestos that Sickens Others
According to a recent California Supreme Court decision, companies may be held liable if asbestos from a job site causes someone in a workers home to become sick. This ruling makes lawsuits on behalf of family members who have contracted disease from asbestos fibers brought into their home on an employee’s clothing possible.
“Employers have a duty to take reasonable care,” to make sure asbestos does not fall on an employee’s clothing or other personal effects, Justice Goodwin Liu stated. “To be sure, there are other persons who may have reason to believe they were exposed to significant quantities of asbestos by repeatedly spending time in an enclosed space with an asbestos worker- for example, a regular carpool companion.” Despite this fact, the law only covers victims who reside in an employee’s household, “an identifiable category of people…most likely to have suffered a legitimate compensable harm.” Asbestos was once widely used in commercial products and building materials from hair dryers to automobile brakes. Despite crackdown on most asbestos containing commercial products, construction workers and their families continue to remain at high risk of coming into contact. The ruling came about as a result of two lawsuits; Johnny Blaine Kesner Jr., 53, who died of perotineal mesothelioma contracted from his uncle, who worked at a brake manufacturing plant owned by Pneumo Abex LLC. Kesner’s uncle had watched over his nephew at least three nights a week from 1973-1979, and often interacted with him while wearing work clothes. The other lawsuit was filed by the children of Lynne Haver, who contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos on her former husband’s work clothing. Haver’s husband had been exposed to asbestos from working with pipe insulation and other products at his job with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (predecessor to BNSF Railway Co.) from 1972-1974. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the chest and abdomen, and is very closely linked with asbestos exposure. The lawsuits accused the companies of knowing of the dangers of asbestos for decades, but failing to provide locker rooms or showers for workers.
If you or a loved one have suffered from disease caused by asbestos and workplace negligence, the law firm of Hodes Milman Liebeck can provide you with the assistance you need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.