Last year we wrote about an Illinois asbestos case that addressed the issue of whether an employer could be liable to the spouse of an employee who contracted mesothelioma cancer from asbestos found on the work clothes worn home by the employee. In Simpkins v. CSX Corp., No 5-07-0346, the Fifth District of the Appellate Court of Illinois concluded that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to protect her from “take-home exposure” to asbestos, but noted that the finding of a duty does not amount to a finding of liability and that the plaintiff would still have to prove her case in court.
Just last month, the Fourth District of the Appellate Court of Illinois considered the a similar issue in Rodarmel v. Pnuemo Abex L.L.C., No. 4–10–0463–namely, whether, during the 1950s, the employer owed a duty to the wife of an employee to warn her of the dangers of asbestos brought home on clothing.
In Rodarmel, the court focused on the issue of whether a duty to warn was owed. In reaching its decision, it analyzed what was known about the hazards of asbestos in the 1950s and came to the opposite conclusion of the court in Simpkins on the issue of foreseeability. Specifically, the court concluded that the risk of sustaining injuries from asbestos on clothing worn in the factory and then worn home wasn’t foreseeable and thus the defendant didn’t owe the plaintiff a duty...
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