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Rudolph v. Rudolph and Sletten, Inc (2018)

July 30, 2018

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Horvitz & Levy obtained a favorable appellate decision for our client in a case that generated widespread interest among the toxic tort bar in California.

Allen Rudolph’s father founded a construction company, Rudolph and Sletten. According to Allen, his father occasionally came home from work with asbestos fibers on his clothing. When Allen became an adult he began working for the company himself. He worked there for several decades, starting as a laborer and eventually becoming CEO. During his work for the company he was exposed to asbestos fibers. When he later developed mesothelioma, he and his wife filed a lawsuit against various defendants, including Rudolph and Sletten. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that workers’ compensation is the plaintiffs’ exclusive remedy against Allen’s employer.

The plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the trial court’s ruling deprived them of a remedy for Allen’s childhood take-home exposures to asbestos. They attempted to persuade the First Appellate District (Division Five) to disagree with a 2015 published opinion issued by the Second Appellate District on this same issue. Horvitz and Levy represented Rudolph and Sletten on appeal, arguing that the Second District’s opinion was consistent with the workers’ compensation statutory scheme and with the public policies underlying the workers’ compensation exclusive-remedy rule. The court agreed with our arguments and affirmed the trial court’s ruling in a unanimous unpublished opinion.

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