Back in May I discussed the Campbell v Ford case, which held that an employer had no duty to protect family members of employees from secondary exposure to asbestos used during the course of the employer's business.
I viewed it as a big win for employers, particularly dealerships where secondary, "take home", exposure to other non-employees may have occurred as a result of work which took place during the course of the employer's business. Well, a funny thing happened at the Court of Appeal in Los Angeles. About a month later the Court modified its holding to state that "a property owner has no duty to protect family members of workers on its premises from secondary exposure to asbestos used during the course of the property owner's business."
What is the effect of this modification with regard to automobile dealerships? It depends. If the dealer owns the property where the initial exposure took place, the Campbell case will still hold up. If the dealership occupies the property where the work takes place, but does not own or control the property, you could have a bit of a battle over Campbell. I'll be curious to see how this all shakes out.
As my Grandfather always said, better to own than to rent. Turns out he was right on this one too.