Articles Posted in EMPLOYER LIABILITY

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Posted by H. Lee Pruett

Sometimes companies throw parties at which someone gets hurt. And, of course, when people get hurt, they often look to blame someone else, especially the deep pocket. In January, the Georgia Court of Appeals rendered a decision which should be of interest to attorneys who may have occasion to represent such a company. In B-T Two, Inc. v. Bennett, Case No. A10A1716 (Ga. Ct. App., Jan. 27, 2011), the Court considered whether the defendant, doing business as Buffalo’s Cafe, was entitled to summary judgment in a case where one of its employees assaulted the plaintiff at a party sponsored by the defendant company.
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Posted by H. Lee Pruett

Last May, the Georgia Court of Appeals decided Hicks v. Heard, Case No. A09A0874 (Ga. Ct. App., May 5, 2009), affirming summary judgment in favor of a defendant employer on the issue of respondeat superior liability. See our May 18, 2009 blog post, “Georgia Court of Appeals Renders Sensible Ruling on Employer Liability and Negligent Entrustment.” In this case, while driving a company car, the daughter of an officer and owner of Mark Heard Fuel Company caused a rear-end collision which injured the plaintiff.
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Posted by Susan J. Levy

In Williams v. Baker County, 2009 Ga. App. LEXIS 1110 (September 22, 2009), Defendant William Land admitted causing an accident that injured Plaintiff when his vehicle struck her vehicle.
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Posted by H. Lee Pruett

Jessica Heard, the daughter of an officer and owner of Mark Heard Fuel Company, rear-ended Bonnie Hicks while driving a company car. Ms. Heard was employed by the Company as a clerical worker on a part-time, as-needed basis. At the time of the accident, she was driving home from school. Ms. Hicks, the plaintiff, claimed she was injured and filed suit against Ms. Heard and the Company. Plaintiff alleged the Company was liable through vicarious liability and negligent entrustment. Following discovery, the Company filed a motion for summary judgment. Judge David L. Dickinson of the Forsyth County Superior Court granted the motion.
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Posted by Susan J. Levy

An employer may be liable for negligent hiring/retention when the employer knew or in the exercise of ordinary care, should have known, the employee was unsuited for the particular employment. Western Indus., Inc. v. Poole, 280 Ga. App. 378 (2006) (emphasis added). The question of whether the employee is suited for employment is resolved by examining the particular job in question. For example, in CSX Transp., Inc. v. Pyramid Stone Indus., Inc., 2008 U. S. App. LEXIS 20001 (11th Cir. 2008), the Court held that an employee was suitable for quarry work given his prior experience operating heavy equipment, despite a prior criminal history of violent crime. Id. To recover punitive damages for the employer’s negligent hiring/retention, the plaintiff must show the employer had actual knowledge “of numerous and serious violations on its driver’s record, or, at the very least, . . . the employer has flouted a legal duty to check a record showing such violations.” Western Indus., Inc., 280 Ga. App. at 380.
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