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There has long been a legal question as to whether a company’s responsibility to safeguard their employees from hazardous materials stops with the employee  or whether it carries to other members of the household – this has specifically been true for work environments contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral that was widely used in industrial settings, and which was later found to be highly carcinogenic. As family members of those who worked in these environments have been sickened by the asbestos that was carried home on their clothes, some courts have held employers liable and others have not. Now the Arizona state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a case that was originally rejected by an Arizona court and then again by the court of appeals.

The lawsuit revolves around the case of Ernest Quiroz, who died in 2014 from mesothelioma, the rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Quiroz’s survivors filed a lawsuit in 2013 against Reynolds Metal Co. in an attempt to hold them legally responsible. The appellate court ruled on the case in September of 2016. In their decision they acknowledged that some states did allow lawsuits based on take home exposure, but said that Arizona laws are not written that way. They rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that there were “reasonable expectations of the parties and society” for Reynolds to have acted responsibly, and expressed concern that by opening the door to this type of lawsuit they would see a flood of similar second-hand exposure cases that went well beyond take home exposure, instead inviting class by those who come into contact at laundromats, in their taxicabs, and more.

In appealing the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court, Quiroz’s survivors are hoping that they will receive a decision that is more in keeping with those that have been handed down in other states, including California, Tennessee, and New Jersey. There have also been states where second-hand exposure cases have been explicitly struck down, including Georgia, Michigan and New York.

At Mesothelioma.net, our Patient Advocates stay up-to-date on rulings like these, as we know that they are of keen interest to the patients that we help. For information on your rights to access the asbestos trust funds, as well as where to find specialized state-of-the-art care for your condition, contact us at 1-800-692-8608.

Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing the copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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