Judge dismisses COVID-19 lawsuit from contractor’s wife

Dive Short:

  • A federal judge in California has dismissed the statements of a design worker’s wife who claimed she contracted COVID-19 soon after her spouse was exposed to the novel coronavirus at do the job.
  • Corby Kuciemba filed a lawsuit against her husband’s employer, Victory Woodworks, alleging that Victory knew that a different worker experienced analyzed good for COVID-19 but instead of requiring him or her to quarantine, assigned the personnel to operate with her husband on a San Francisco jobsite. Kuciemba sought damages in surplus of $75,000 for health care expenses for at the very least 1 healthcare facility keep, lost wages, misplaced earning capability, pain and suffering, loss of satisfaction of lifestyle and emotional distress.
  • U.S. District Choose Maxine Chesney denied Kuciemba’s statements, ruling that the allegation that she contracted COVID-19 by immediate speak to with her husband was barred by California workers’ payment regulation the declare that she was exposed “indirectly via fomites this sort of as [her husband’s] clothes” was not plausible and that Victory’s “obligation to present a secure workplace to its personnel does not lengthen to nonemployees who, like Corby Kuciemba, contract a viral infection away from those premises.”

Dive Perception:

Barring a effective appeal, this determination could be made use of as an illustration for other courts that are dealing with the same styles of lawsuits or put in the posture of determining legal responsibility in states with workers’ compensation regulations equivalent to people in California, according to an examination of the case by attorneys Eric Hobbs and J. Davis Jenkins of the regulation business Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart.

Other COVID-19-similar rules have started off to operate their way via the field as nicely. Some states have taken up the challenge of no matter if organizations are liable for COVID-19-connected injuries or demise.

For illustration, Florida’s new COVID-19 protect law requires a plaintiff to confirm gross negligence on the portion of the business enterprise in purchase to effectively go after a assert. As of April 30, according to Bloomberg Law, 20 states have handed legislation that gives some degree of protection for companies in opposition to COVID-19 liability.

In addition, OSHA implemented a new National Emphasis Program in March, concentrating on companies that perhaps expose a substantial quantity of employees at danger for exposure to the coronavirus. 

OSHA has also submitted the text of an emergency non permanent standard to the White Dwelling for overview. Given that OSHA has cited Centers for Sickness Manage and Prevention assistance in issuing its personal guidelines for building jobsites safer all through the pandemic, it is unclear as to how evolving CDC recommendations will impact the agency’s proposed ETS.

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