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Companies fear endless "take-home" lawsuits for covid liability



(Reuters) – As covid-19 cases increase in the United States, companies say they fear a California court has increased the likelihood that companies will be sued for infections, even by non-employees or customers. [19659002]] On December 21, it allowed for a death lawsuit to continue against See & # 39 ;s Candies Inc., owned by Berkshire Hathaway, by the family of Arturo Ek from Los Angeles who died in April 2020 at the age of 72 by covid

Sees employees his wife, Matilde Ek, who said she was infected with the coronavirus when she worked a few inches away from sick co-workers, and then her husband got it from her at home.

The rash is the first of a appellate court allowing a novel "take-home" Covid-1

9 process, which claims damages from a company due to allegations of breaches of security protocols and having started a chain of infections outside the company's premises.

See & # 39; s , who did not respond to one request for comment, could appeal to California's Supreme Co urt.

The Sees judgment is only binding in California, but it can provide guidance to judges in other states, said legal experts.

Corporate groups warned in court documents filed before See's decision that such a verdict could lead to lawsuits. of an infected employee's family and friends and anyone infected by that circle of people.

The groups called it an "infinite chain" of responsibilities.

To counter covid-19 processes, including repatriation cases, business interests have persuaded at least 30 states pass laws that make it difficult to enforce them, often by requiring plaintiffs to show gross negligence.

California was not one of those states.

" -related lawsuits that will further dampen the chances of small businesses in particular recovering, "said Kyla Christoffersen Powell, president of the Civil Justice Association of California, a business group.

] Hours after the decision, a California construction worker and his wife referred the decision to a U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the couple trying to revive a similar lawsuit against Victory Woodworks Inc.

There have been at least 23 covid-19 retrieval processes across the United States, all of which are at an early stage. Defendants include Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Conagra Brands Inc. and Pilgrim & # 39 ;s Pride, a subsidiary of meat producer JBS SA.

Protocol: Employees were packed in work cars, symptomatic workers were kept in company dormitories, or infected people were not examined before entering a workplace. They seek damages on behalf of employees' children and spouses who ended up in fans or even died of the disease.

At least six of the lawsuits have been dismissed, including against Southwest Airlines Co., and six, including two against McDonald & # 39 ;s . Corp., appears to have resulted in a private settlement, says Stephen Jones, General Counsel for Praedicat Inc., a company that assesses risks for insurance companies.

The journey is not limited to employees. The Royal Caribbean's Celebrity Cruise Line was sued in federal court in Miami for an outbreak of covid-19 on a ship, which infected two passengers who took the disease home to their children. The two sides are scheduled to begin mediation later this month.

"Until you get a jury decision, we do not know in one way or another if there will be an explosion of cases," said Mr. Jones

The Sees judgment helped resolve an initial issue that has hung over the takeover case of covid-19 by stating that employers are not protected from work injury compensation lawsuits. The system provides fast payments without having to prove fault for workplace injuries and in return it blocks lawsuits.

The California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, said that Arturo Ek's death was dependent on his wife as a channel for the virus. His death was not, as Sees had claimed, dependent on her illness.

The Ek family still has to convince a judge that See has an obligation to family and acquaintances of employees. Plaintiffs have failed to establish that in cases dismissed against Southwest Airlines, a meat processing company in Illinois and a hospital in Maryland. COVID-19.

"You would need to have a situation where an employee came to and from work and neither the employee nor anyone else in the family / household went anywhere else," says Amberly Morgan, a lawyer at Fisher Phillips, who defends the employers.


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