Update: California Supreme Court to Review Secondary Asbestos Exposure Cases

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In Sedgwick’s June 2014 Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Update, we reported on two conflicting decisions  from different California appellate courts regarding companies’ duty to prevent “take home exposures” to asbestos brought home by employees from their workplaces.  One court found that premises owners have no duty to protect family members of workers on their property — including employees — from secondary exposure to asbestos used on their property, while another court found that product manufacturers have a duty to protect their employees’ families from secondary asbestos exposure resulting from the negligent manufacture of asbestos-containing products at their facilities.  On August 20, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted petitions to review both cases, framing the issue as follows:  If an employer’s business involves either the use or the manufacturer of asbestos-containing products, does the employer owe a duty of care to members of an employee’s household who could be affected by asbestos brought home on the employee’s clothing?   We will continue to monitor these cases and advise when the California Supreme Court issues its decision.

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