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Thursday, May 19, 2016

NJ Supreme Court Hears Argument on Employer's Duty to Household Contact

An employer's duty to a employee's household contact was the focus of an oral argument recently before the NJ Supreme Court. The NJ Supreme Court reviewed the question, that was certified by the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals, to define the duty and its scope. The household contact, the fiance, subsequently spouse, suffered beryllium related disease causally related to the employee's toxic exposure.

The case arose out of a household contact's exposure to beryllium brought home on the employee's cloths. At the time of the exposure, 30 years ago, the household contact was the fiance of the employee.
"The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit having certified to the Supreme Court the following question of law pursuant to Rule 2:12-1:
And the Court having determined to accept the question as certified."
Does the premises liability rule set forth in Olivo v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 186N.J. 394, 895 A.2d 1143 (2006), extend beyond providing a duty of care to the spouse of a person exposed to toxic substances on the landowner's premises, and, if so, what are the limits of that liability rule and the associated scope of duty?
Three States have adopted the rule that the employer's duty extends to household contacts who are not spouses, ie. children and parents of the employee.

Click here to view NJ Supreme Court Video 4/25/2016  (Available for 30 days, then see below)
Click here for general information about accessing the NJ Supreme Court Video Archive

Case History (Google Scholar):
Schwartz v. ACCURATUS CORP., 118 A. 3d 347 - … - ‎NJ: Supreme Court
Schwartz v. Accuratus Corp., 7 F. Supp. 3d 490 - 2014 - ‎Dist. Court, ED
Schwartz v. ACCURATUS CORPORATION, 2014 - ‎Dist. Court, ED

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