William Bogdan's California Supreme Court Win in "Take-Home COVID" Case Lauded by Business Groups and Press Commentators
Decision receives nationwide media coverage and first person analysis by Bogdan
Hinshaw partner William Bogdan recently authored a byline in The Recorder discussing his recent win at the California Supreme Court in a bellwether "take-home COVID" case. The court ruled in favor of firm client, Victory Woodworks Inc., deciding that employers in the state are not legally responsible for preventing the spread of COVID-19 from their employees to the employees' family members. The ruling received significant media coverage in publications that include the Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Law360, and American Lawyer.
The court answered "no" to two certified questions posed by the Ninth Circuit regarding take-home COVID: Does California's workers' comp law bar COVID-19 injury claims lodged by an employee's spouse? And do employers have a duty to protect a worker's household relatives from coronavirus infections? In the Court's unanimous ruling, Associate Justice Carol Corrigan stated that "recognizing a duty of care to nonemployees in this context would impose an intolerable burden on employers and society in contravention of public policy."
In his byline, Bogdan noted that "the [California] Supreme Court determined for the first time that the consequences to the community, and specifically to the courts, would be too great to justify imposing a duty. The court realized that to rule otherwise would allow anyone infected to file suit so long as that person lived with someone who had a job."
"A Pair Beats Four of a Kind: Take-Home COVID and the 'Rowland' Duty Factors" was published by The Recorder on July 12, 2023.
Los Angeles Times, "California high court: Employers not responsible for COVID spread to workers’ families" (subscription required)
Law360, "Calif. Justices' COVID Liability Rule Right Call, Attys Say" (subscription required)
San Francisco Chronicle, "Employers can't be sued by workers' spouses over COVID exposure, state Supreme Court rules" (subscription required)
Los Angeles Daily News, "Employers don’t have to protect workers’ families from COVID, California high court rules"
American Lawyer Magazine, "Employers Not Liable for Exposing Workers' Families to COVID, California Supreme Court Says" (subscription required)
SHRM, "Employer Not Liable for Allegedly Spreading COVID-19 to Employee’s Wife" (subscription required)
Law360, "'Take-Home' COVID Won't Be A Thing, Calif. Justices Decide" (subscription required)
Business Insurance, "Calif. employers not liable for COVID spread to family members"
McKnights Long Term Care News, "CA Supreme Court backs employers in ‘take-home’ COVID case"
Northern California Record, "Employers can't be sued if their workers' spouses catch Covid: California Supreme Court"