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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

New peril for employers: Wrongful death "take home" lawsuits from the coronavirus, using the prior examples of asbestos.

Why it matters: Employers enjoy legal protections and liability caps under workers' compensation laws, but these lawsuits could skirt those protections, Reuters reports.

How it works: Plaintiffs will need to both prove that businesses were negligent on safety and that employees spread the virus to their family members. Some examples, per Reuters...

  • Lawsuit 1: The daughter of Ricardo Ugalde sued his employer, a packing plant in Illinois, alleging they placed workers "shoulder to shoulder" in April, without additional safety protections. Ugalde's wife died of COVID-19.
  • Lawsuit 2: The wife of Servando Reynoso sued his employer, an electrical components manufacturer, alleging she contracted the virus (and suffered organ damage) while caring for him after he got sick. His employer says staff wore gloves and masks before COVID-19.

The bottom line: A worst-case liability scenario for employers has damages running as high as $21 billion if the U.S. reaches 300,000 coronavirus deaths, Reuters reports.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Rep. Kevin Brady tests positive for the coronavirus

Rep. Kevin Brady. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) announced Tuesday night that he's in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.

Why it matters: He's the second House member this week to test positive for the coronavirus after having the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine, following Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas). Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine and others require two doses to protect against the virus.

Go deeper:

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jan 5, 2021 - Economy & Business

Goldman Sachs CEO forecasts small business survival in the storm

David Solomon outside the Capitol today. Photo: Goldman Sachs

In Washington on Tuesday to meet with small businesses, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon told Axios that some of the survival pivots entrepreneurs have made in the past year will last past the pandemic.

What he's saying: "A lot of small businesses have had to make some investment in digitization and technology to connect to their customers more digitally than directly," Solomon said. "Some of that will last and will help their businesses."

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