Employers can’t be held liable to somebody who contracted cancer from asbestos brought home on a parent’s work clothes, according to a decision handed down on Friday by the Arizona Supreme Court.
The case stems from the 2014 death of Ernest Quiroz Jr., whose 2013 negligence lawsuit contends he was exposed to asbestos on his father’s work clothes and developed mesothelioma as a result.
Quiroz’s father worked at a Reynolds Metal Co. plant between 1948 and 1983.
The suit argued that Reynolds Metal Co. was legally obligated to avoid creating hazardous conditions that would injure people off its property.
However, lower courts ruled that Reynolds, which was later purchased by Alcoa Inc., didn’t have a legal obligation to Quiroz, for secondary or take home asbestos exposure – when an employee carries asbestos fibers on their work clothes offsite – something required for a negligence claim.
A Court of Appeals ruling said potential drawbacks of recognizing what’s called a duty of care in so-called “take-home exposure” cases outweigh potential benefits.
The Supreme Court’s ruling affirms the summary judgment ruling by the superior court in favor of Reynolds.
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