The California Supreme Court declined to review the appellate court decision holding that the derivative injury doctrine does not preclude a lawsuit alleging an employer business negligently exposed a worker to COVID-19 that is alleged to have resulted in a subsequent death of a family member. As such, Plaintiffs may proceed to litigate the issues in civil court.
Earlier, the Court of Appeals reasoned that the workers' compensation exclusive remedy provisions did not apply because the derivative injury doctrine does not apply to the subject claim. They discussed that the spouse may have had a claim regardless of the employee being injured.
This case represents a blow to employers seeking protection under the workers compensation exclusive remedy rule. However, the event Kuciemba decision in another district found the opposite. There's is no final decision on the merits of the underlying claim here yet, but we will be sure to keep you updated.