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Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division One
December 21, 2021, Opinion Filed
Civil No. B312241
[**69] BENDIX, Acting P. J.—See's Candies, Inc., and See's Candy Shops, Inc. (collectively, defendants) petition for a writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate an order overruling their demurrer to a wrongful death action filed by real parties in [****2] interest Matilde Ek (Mrs. Ek), Karla Ek-Elhadidy, Lucila del Carmen Ek, and Maria Ek-Ewell (collectively, plaintiffs). Plaintiffs are the wife and daughters of decedent Arturo Ek (Mr. Ek).
Plaintiffs allege that Mrs. Ek, defendants' employee, contracted COVID-19 at work because of defendants' failure to implement adequate safety measures. They claim that Mr. Ek subsequently caught the disease from Mrs. Ek while she convalesced at home. He died from the disease a month later.
Defendants filed a demurrer asserting that plaintiffs' claims are preempted by the exclusivity provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act (WCA; Lab. Code, 3 § 3200 et seq.). Specifically, defendants argued plaintiffs' claims are barred by the [**70] “derivative injury doctrine” (Snyder v. Michael's Stores, Inc. (1997) 16 Cal.4th 991, 1000 [68 Cal.Rptr.2d 476, 945 P.2d 781] (Snyder)), under which “the WCA's exclusivity provisions preempt not only those causes of action premised on a compensable workplace injury, but also those causes of action premised on injuries ‘“collateral to or derivative of”’ such an injury.” (King v. CompPartners, Inc. (2018) 5 Cal.5th 1039, 1051 [236 Cal.Rptr.3d 853, 423 P.3d 975] (King).) Among other things, this doctrine preempts third party claims “based on the physical injury or disability of [***23] the spouse,” such as loss of consortium or emotional distress. (Cole v. Fair Oaks Fire Protection Dist. (1987) 43 Cal.3d 148, 163 [233 Cal.Rptr. 308, 729 P.2d 743].)
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73 Cal. App. 5th 66 *; 288 Cal. Rptr. 3d 66 **; 87 Cal. Comp. Cases 21 ***; 2021 Cal. App. LEXIS 1076 ****
SEE'S CANDIES, INC., et al., Petitioners, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Respondent; MATILDE EK et al., Real Parties in Interest.
Subsequent History: Review denied by See's Candies v. Superior Court, 2022 Cal. LEXIS 1976 (Cal., Apr. 13, 2022)
Prior History: [****1] Los Angeles County Superior Court No. 20STCV49673—Hon Daniel M. Crowley, Judge
Disposition: Original Proceeding; petition for writ of mandate. Petition is denied.
derivative, injuries, workers' compensation, fetal, infection, defendants', contracted, workplace, injury to an employee, fetus, nonemployee's, cause of action, cases, exposure, damages, virus, trial court, collateral, employees, loss of consortium, family member, plaintiffs', disabling, disease, losses, spouse, emotional distress, work-related, demurrer, physical injury
Civil Procedure, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Demurrers, Writs, Common Law Writs, Mandamus, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Workers' Compensation & SSDI, Exclusivity, Exceptions, Defenses, Exclusivity Provisions, Business & Corporate Compliance, Workers' Compensation & SSDI, Employees & Employers, Benefit Determinations, Death Benefits, Exclusivity, Torts, Types of Losses, Loss of Consortium, Spouses, Family Law, Marital Duties & Rights, Causes of Action, Loss of Consortium, Types of Negligence Actions, Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, Potential Plaintiffs, Intentional Torts, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Remedies, Governments, Courts, Common Law, Award Calculations, Types of Damages, Compensatory Damages, Loss of Services, Judicial Precedent, Dicta, Judicial Precedent