Businesses could face billions of dollars in lawsuits from employees who brought Covid-19 home to relatives

Businesses with Covid-19 outbreaks are facing an emerging legal threat from claims that workers brought coronavirus home and infected relatives, which one risk analysis firm said could cost employers billions of dollars.



a group of people in a field


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The daughter of Esperanza Ugalde of Illinois filed in August what lawyers believe is the first wrongful death “take home” lawsuit, alleging her mother died of Covid-19 that her father contracted at Aurora Packing Co’s meat processing plant.

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The cases borrow elements from “take home” asbestos litigation and avoid caps on liability for workplace injuries, exposing business to costly pain and suffering damages, even though the plaintiff never set foot on their premises.

“Businesses should be very concerned about these cases,” said labor and employment attorney Tom Gies of Crowell & Moring, which defends employers.

The lawsuit against Aurora alleges that Ricardo Ugalde worked “shoulder to shoulder” on the company’s processing

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‘Take home’ lawsuits over COVID infections could be costly for U.S. employers

By Tom Hals



a group of people in a field: FILE PHOTO: American flags representing 200,000 lives lost due to coronavirus are placed on National Mall in Washington


© Reuters/JOSHUA ROBERTS
FILE PHOTO: American flags representing 200,000 lives lost due to coronavirus are placed on National Mall in Washington

(Reuters) – U.S. businesses with COVID-19 outbreaks are facing an emerging legal threat from claims that workers brought coronavirus home and infected relatives, which one risk analysis firm said could cost employers billions of dollars.

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The daughter of Esperanza Ugalde of Illinois filed in August what lawyers believe is the first wrongful death “take home” lawsuit, alleging her mother died of COVID-19 that her father contracted at Aurora Packing Co’s meat processing plant.

    The cases borrow elements from “take home” asbestos litigation and avoid caps on liability for workplace injuries, exposing business to costly pain and suffering damages, even though the plaintiff never set foot on their premises.

“Businesses should be very concerned about these cases,” said labor and employment attorney Tom Gies of

Read More