Does an employer have a duty to protect spouse of employee from exposure to asbestos?

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Simpkins v. CSX Corp., No 5-07-0346, raises the novel issue of whether an employer owes a duty to the spouse of an employee who contracted mesothelioma as a result of her exposure to her husband’s work clothes. This was an issue of first impression for the Fifth District of the Appellate Court of Illinois.

The complaint in Simpkins included allegations that, from 1958 1964, Annette Simpkins was exposed to asbestos that her husband brought home on his work clothes. They divorced in 1964, at which point the asbestos exposure ceased.

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