Toxic Substances

Toxic Exposure: Preconception Duty

By on January 13, 2015 - Comments off

Elsheref v. Applied Materials, Inc., (Second District, January 27, 2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 451,167 Cal.Rptr.3d 257, 14 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 1015, 2014 Daily Journal D.A.R. 1061

The parents of a child who was born with a number of severe birth defects filed an action on his behalf against the father’s employer, a semiconductor manufacturer, alleging that his injuries were caused by the father’s exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace. Asserting causes of action for negligence, strict liability/ultrahazardous activity, willful misconduct, misrepresentation, premises liability, and strict products liability, the plaintiff alleged that his father’s work with tools containing mercury and ethylene glycol, as well as tools emitting ionizing radiation, exposed him to teratogenic, genotoxic, and reproductively toxic chemicals and processes.

The employer moved for summary adjudication, arguing that it did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff for preconception injuries.  The trial court granted summary adjudication but the court of appeal reversed as to the strict products liability cause of action. The court held that although the defendant owed no owe a duty to the plaintiff, the absence of a duty was not fatal to strict products liability claim:

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Posted in: Toxic Substances


Toxic Chemicals: Secondary Exposure

By on December 8, 2009 - Comments off

Oddone v. Superior Court, (Second District, November 24, 2009) 179 Cal. App. 4th 813, 101 Cal.Rptr.3d 867, 09 Cal. Daily Op. 14,124

A woman whose husband died as a result of a brain tumor allegedly caused by exposure to toxic chemicals at his place of employment, filed an action on her own behalf against the employer. The plaintiff alleged that her husband’s clothing absorbed chemical substances he was using in connection with his employment, and that the substances would remain on his skin, causing her to be exposed to the chemicals as a result of her contact with her husband. The plaintiff further alleged that the defendant had breached duties to warn and to safely operate its premises to protect spouses and family members of employees from coming into contact with chemical substances used at its facility, thereby causing the plaintiff to suffer secondary chemical exposure.

The trial court sustained the defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend. The court of appeal denied the plaintiff’s petition for a writ of mandate, concluding that the trial court correctly found that the defendant did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff to protect her from secondary exposure to toxic chemicals: Read the rest »