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By Peter Hayes
Sept. 22 — An employer owes no duty of care to the child of a worker for asbestos brought home on the employee’s clothes, an Arizona appeals court ruled ( Quiroz v. Alcoa Inc. , 2016 BL 308953, Ariz. Ct. App., Div. 1, No. 1 CA-CV 15-0083, 9/20/16 ).
There was no special relationship that would create a duty to the child, who alleged his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos on his father’s clothes, the court said.
The issue of take-home liability is one over which state courts have split.
The Arizona appeals court cited rulings by courts in Georgia, New York and Michigan, which have found no premises owner duty to household members,
New Jersey, Tennessee, Louisiana and Washington are among the states that have recognized a such a duty.
On July 6, the New Jersey high court extended a take home duty beyond the employee’s immediate family, in Schwartz v. Accuratus Corp., 2016 BL 215980, N.J., No. A-73-14-076195, 7/6/16.
California courts have allowed premises owner suits by third parties, but the state’s appeals courts split on the issue.
The California Supreme Court Sept. 7 heard oral argument on premises owner duty in Haver v. BNSF Ry. Co., Cal., No. S219919, as well as product manufacturer duty in Kesner v. S.C. (Pneumo Abex), Cal., No. S219534.
Those courts that have found a duty have focused on foreseeability of harm.
The Arizona appeals court elected to follow those courts that have no duty based on the relationship of the parties.
The plaintiff’s father was employed at Reynolds Metals, which merged with Alcoa in May 2000.
Judge Jon W. Thompson wrote the decision, joined by Judges
Waters Kraus & Paul represented the Quiroz family.
Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP represented Reynolds Metals Co. and Alcoa Inc.
To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at PHayes@bna.com
Full text of the opinion available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Quiroz_v_Alcoa_Inc_No_1_CACV_150083_2016_BL_308953_Ariz_App_Div_1
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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