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California Employers Can Face Lawsuits by Third Parties Claiming Injuries From Employees Infected With COVID-19

California employers whose employees become infected with COVID-19 while in the workplace and pass the infection to family members can be sued in civil court for resulting injuries suffered by third parties.

A California appellate court has ruled in the matter of See’s Candies, Inc., et al. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles (Matilde Ek, et al.) that a wrongful death suit on behalf of a non-employee who allegedly contracted COVID-19 from an employee may proceed. According to the complaint, a group of employees allegedly became infected with COVID-19 in the employer’s candy factory due to a lack of social distancing, and one of those employees passed the virus to her non-employee spouse. The employee later recovered, but the non-employee spouse died.

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