Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara’s client is being sued by invitees to an employee’s home arising from the employee’s son’s PTSD-driven shooting. Plaintiffs, in an attempt to drastically expand an employer’s duty when an employee works from home, contend that an employer must both ensure an employee’s home is safe for invitees regardless of whether the employer has any knowledge of the invitees and investigate the personal information of anyone residing in an employee’s home. When the trial court denied BWB&O’s motion for summary judgment despite agreeing that the employer “has good grounds for asserting that it has no liability” and that “imposing liability on employers for intentional torts, such as mass shootings, that occur at the home of an employee who works from home is very troubling,” BWB&O and appellate counsel, Horvitz & Levy, sought immediate appellate relief. The Court of Appeal, agreeing that BWB&O’s client has no other adequate remedy at law and that the issue presented on appeal should be decided prior to trial, issued an order to show cause. Consequently, the Court of Appeal will issue a written opinion on whether employer liability can be expanded to the extreme degree sought by Plaintiffs. Given the impact of COVID-19 on employers and employees throughout California and the rest of the United States, with millions of employees working from home in varying degrees, the potential impact of the Court of Appeal’s eventual decision cannot be underestimated.
Partner August Hotchkin (who handles general liability cases throughout Northern California and Northern Nevada) is BWB&O’s point person on this matter and he proactively set up the battle on the employer’s terms by filing two rounds of aggressive motion practice before taking the fight to the Court of Appeal. Mr. Hotchkin can be reached at BWB&O’s Reno office if you have any questions regarding this matter. BWB&O will keep the legal community advised as to the ultimate outcome of this all-important battle on behalf of employers.