A California woman, 65 year old Corby Kuciemba, sued her husband’s employer because she believes he caught the novel coronavirus at work and brought it home with him – ultimately infecting her also.
The couple then tested positive for the virus on July 16, 2020, and both were hospitalized as a result, with Corby Kuciemba being held for treatment until the beginning of August.
She and her husband, Robert Kuciemba, alleged in their Oct. 23, 2020 lawsuit that his employer, Nevada-based Victory Woodworks, violated local and federal virus-safety guidelines when it moved workers from one site to another in the San Francisco region.
The company’s failure to take basic precautions allegedly caused Robert Kuciemba to contract the virus and unknowingly bring it home and infect his wife, and both required extended hospital stays and suffer from after-effects.
The closely watched case was removed by the employer to the Federal District Court in Northern California on December 28. The removal was soon followed by a Motion to Dismiss filed on January 4, and then a hearing on that motion set for February 12.
On February 22, the federal judge ruled that the First, Second, Third, and Fifth Causes of Action, titled, respectively, “Negligence,” “Negligence Per Se,” “Negligence – Premises Liability,” and “Loss of Consortium,” are barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of California’s workers’ compensation statutes.
Judge Chesney also ruled that the couple’s Fourth Cause of Action doesn’t meet the required threshold, or standing, to hold Robert Kuciemba’s employer, Victory Woodworks Inc., liable for creating a public nuisance.
However, the plaintiffs were given leave to file, no later than March 19, 2021, a First Amended Complaint.
The case is Kuciemba v. Victory Woodworks, 20-cv-09355, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).