Workers' Compensation

Virginia: Shipyard Owed Duty of Care Not to Expose Worker’s Family Members to Asbestos Fibers on Worker’s Clothing

Answering a restated certified question from the U.S. District Court (Eastern District of Virginia), the Supreme Court of Virginia, in a deeply divided 4-3 decision, held that an employer owed a duty of care to an employee's family member who alleged exposure to asbestos from the work clothes of the employee, where the family member alleged the employer's negligence allowed asbestos fibers to be regularly transported away from the place of employment to the employee's home. The majority indicated that the workers had not been informed of the dangers of the asbestos dust, and absent such knowledge, the workers were simply a means of dispersal yielding various foreseeable and unforeseeable routes of exposure to the hazard created by the employer shipyard's conduct in engaging in industrial practices that created asbestos dust. Because of the shipyard owed the duty to the family members, it was susceptible to tort liability to family members of the employee.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Quisenberry v. Record No. 171494 Huntington Ingalls, Inc., 2018 Va. LEXIS 137 (Oct. 11, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 101.03.

Source:Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law