Kesner v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
Domestic or take-home exposure to asbestos occurs when a worker who is directly exposed to a toxin carries it home on his person or clothing and a member of his household is exposed through physical proximity with that worker or the worker’s clothing. Plaintiffs filed these actions for personal injury and wrongful death, alleging that take-home exposure to asbestos was a contributing cause to the deaths of the two decedents and that the employers of the decedents’ family members had a duty to prevent this exposure. The trial and appellate courts in the two cases reached varying conclusions as to the existence of a duty on the part of users of asbestos to prevent nonemployees who have never visited their facilities from being exposed to asbestos used in the defendants’ business. The Supreme Court held (1) employers have a duty to prevent exposure to asbestos carried by the bodies and clothing got on-site workers, and where it is reasonably foreseeable that workers will carry asbestos from the premises to household members, employers have a duty to take reasonable care to prevent this means of transmission; and (2) this duty, which also applies to premises owners who use asbestos on their property, extends only to members of a worker’s household.