In a case that could potentially have broad impact across the country, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has asked the California Supreme Court to evaluate whether the derivative injury doctrine prevents a claim against an employer by the spouse of an employee who contracts COVID-19 in the workplace and brings the virus home. 

The federal court also asked the state’s high court to consider if an employer has a duty to the households of its employees to exercise ordinary care to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The high court will have the opportunity to either take up or decline the case, which is captioned Kuciemba v. Victory Woodworks.