McCarthy v. State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services,

Plaintiff office worker sued the DSHS, her employer, for negligence in that it failed to provide her with a safe and healthful place of employment and an office environment reasonably free from tobacco smoke.  Her doctor advised her that she had developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and could work only in a “clean air environment” which DSHS did not provide.  Plaintiff sought but was denied industrial insurance benefits for her condition because her lung disease was not an “occupational injury”.  A lower court dismissed her negligence claim; the Court of Appeals reversed, saying that she has a proper negligence claim since the disease she contracted on the job was not peculiar to or inherent in her occupation at DSHS.  The case is remanded for trial on the merits.  At   759 P.2d 351, 110 Wash.2d 812, 3 IER Cases 710, 3.7 TPLR 2.143, (Wash. Sup. Ct. 1988), the Supreme Court of Washington upheld the 1986 Court of Appeals decision and stated that “the employer’s common law duty to provide a safe workplace includes a duty to provide a working environment reasonably free from tobacco smoke,” and that “the State as an employer has such a duty.”  The case was settled in 1989 for $27,000.

730 P.2d 681, 46 Wash. App. 125, 1 IER Cases 1233, 106 CCH LC sec. 55750, 2.3 TPLR 2.47, (Wash. Ct. App. 1986); review granted, 108 Wash.2d 1001, (1987).