Court Enforces Employer’s Duty to Warn Families about Dangers of Asbestos

The Simmons law firm recently won an important appeal for Illinois workers and their families who are exposed to asbestos in the workplace and later develop mesothelioma. The 5th District of the Appellate Court of Illinois ruled in June that an employer has a responsibility to inform the families of its employees about the take-home dangers associated with asbestos.

Judge Melissa Chapman issued the ruling that reversed a trial court’s previous decision, which held that defendant CSX Corporation, formerly B&O Railroad, was not responsible for warning an employee’s wife that the asbestos dust on her husband’s clothes could cause her to develop an asbestos-related disease.

The employee’s wife later died of mesothelioma that medical experts linked to her asbestos exposure. In the June 10 opinion, the court wrote that, “It takes little imagination to presume that when an employee, who is exposed to asbestos, brings home his work clothes, members of his family are likely to be exposed as well.”

Michael Angelides, Managing Shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy, said the ruling is important because it establishes precedence in Illinois case law that employers have a duty to warn the immediate family members of their employees who are exposed to asbestos.

“This is an important ruling for victims in Illinois who suffer from take-home exposure illnesses, like meso, through no fault of their own,” he said.