Court of Appeal holds that fraudulent concealment exception to workers’ compensation exclusivity is inapplicable where employer lacks knowledge that employee’s symptoms may lead to cancer

Bazzini v. Technicolor, Inc. (2010) 2010 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 390 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Three) [unpublished]. Plaintiffs, a husband and wife, sued the husband’s former employer, GMSR’s client, for injuries allegedly resulting from the husband’s exposure to chemicals in his job. Plaintiffs asserted they were not limited to workers’ compensation remedies because GMSR’s client fraudulently concealed that the husband’s exposure to chemicals could eventually lead to cancer and that the wife’s secondhand exposure could harm her.

The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment for GMSR’s client. The court held that the husband failed to present evidence that his employer knew his apparent skin conditions were precursors to his later-developed cancer; thus, the employer could not have concealed such knowledge. The court also held that the wife’s claim was dependent on her husband’s, so that her claim failed along with his.