Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mill Street Church of Christ v. Hogan case brief summary

Mill Street Church of Christ v. Hogan KY 1990
Facts: The church Elders decided to hire church member, Bill Hogan, to paint the church building. The Elders decided that another church member, Garry Petty, would be hired to assist if any assistance was needed, however, the Elders never informed Bill Hogan that he had to hire Garry Petty as his helper. As a result, when Bill needed help, he approached his brother Sam Hogan and Sam accepted the job. A half hour after beginning work, a ladder, that Sam was on, broke, which resulted in Sam breaking his arm. The Elders did not know that Bill had approached Sam to work as a helper until after the accident. The Church treasurer paid Bill and Sam for all of the hours that they worked. Sam Hogan filed a claim under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Elders argue that Bill Hogan did not have authority as an agent to hire Sam Hogan and that there was neither implied nor apparent authority.
Issue: Did Bill Hogan, as agent of the church, have the authority to hire Sam Hogan to assist him with painting the church?
Holding: Bill Hogan had implied authority to hire Sam Hogan as his helper because in the past the church had allowed Bill Hogan to hire his brother or other persons whenever he needed assistance on project. Further, it is clear that Bill Hogan needed to hire an assistant for the job for which he had been hired. Finally, Sam Hogan believed that Bill Hogan had the authority to hire him (i.e. apparent authority) as it had been the practice in the past.
Reasoning:
-Actual Authority (implied) (Bill Hogan’s authority)
            -Look at relationship between principal (church) and Agent (Bill Hogan)
            -Past practice of church to allow Bill to hire Sam (Bill unaware of discussions that Elders wanted him to hire someone else)
            -Elders knew that Bill needed to hire an agent to complete the job
-Apparent Authority (Sam Hogan’s reliance)
            -Look at relationship between principal (church) and third party(Sam Hogan)
            -Past practice of church (principal)
            -Church paid for his work (but after the fact)
            -Here, there is an argument for apparent authority even if there is no actual authority.

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