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California: Exclusive Remedy Provision Bars Separate Suit Related to Asbestos-Laden Pipes Carried Home for Home Projects

September 25, 2015 (1 min read)

Where survivors of a worker who died of asbestos-related mesothelioma sued the employer, a pipe manufacturer, for wrongful death, alleging that in addition to his workplace exposure to asbestos, the worker was also permitted to take waste or scrap pipe home, where he was exposed to asbestos in using the pipe for home projects, the employer was entitled to summary judgment, since the survivors’ exclusive remedy against the employer lay in the California Workers’ Compensation Act. It was undisputed that the worker’s exposure to asbestos in his employment substantially contributed to his mesothelioma. Therefore, under the contributing cause standard, his mesothelioma was covered by workers’ compensation, and his separate exposure at home did not create a separate injury outside workers’ compensation coverage. The appellate court also affirmed an award to the employer of $80,719 in expert witness fees. The court said an offer to waive costs in exchange for a dismissal with prejudice was not unreasonable. The survivors were cognizant of the applicability of the workers’ compensation exclusivity rule, even if they did not know the value of the waiver at the time of the offer and may have believed they were likely to prevail.

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

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to

See Melendrez v. Ameron Intern’l Corp., 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 820 (Sept. 17, 2015) [2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 820 (Sept. 17, 2015)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 113.01 [113.01]

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