COVID-19 ISO Insights

'Take Home' COVID-19 Lawsuits Reportedly Beginning to Surface

October 19, 2020

By: David Geller, CPCU, SCLA

An article from Reuters has indicated that “take home” lawsuits, which reportedly were filed relating to asbestos-related litigation in the past, are being used as part of litigation pertaining to COVID-19 fatalities and/or injuries.

The Reuters report states that a daughter of a woman who passed away due to COVID-19 is believed to have been the first to file a wrongful death “‘take home’” lawsuit against a relative’s employer. She reportedly is alleging that her mother contracted – and subsequently died – from COVID-19 after her father was sickened by COVID-19 at the meatpacking plant where he was working, and subsequently infected his wife (the plaintiff’s now deceased mother) with COVID-19.

Reuters also notes that a different woman filed a similar lawsuit in Illinois against her husband’s employer. In this case, the injured party did not pass away, but was allegedly infected with COVID-19 after caring for her husband who had manifested symptoms from the coronavirus in April. The lawsuit reportedly alleges that the plaintiff suffered “‘serious injuries to multiple organs.’” Given the reported uncertainty in how COVID-19 may affect people’s health long-term, such as the potential increase in the risk of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), this may be a case worth monitoring as well.

According to Reuters, between 7% and 9% of the COVID-19 deaths recorded in the U.S. may be due to these “take home” scenarios.

With respect to prior “take home” litigation pertaining to asbestos, Reuters cites a 2013 case in which:

a California jury awarded [the plaintiff] $27.3 million in compensatory and punitive damages after she contracted mesothelioma that her lawyers argued was caused by asbestos fibers carried home in the 1950s on the work clothes of her then-husband, who installed insulation for an affiliate of [the defendant].