Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trahan-Laroche v. Lockheed Sanders, Inc. case brief

Trahan-Laroche v. Lockheed Sanders, Inc. case summary
657 A.2d 417 (N.H. 1995)
Tort Law

FACTS:: Plaintiffs, injured persons, were injured when a flatbed trailer separated from the pickup truck towing it and collided with their vehicle. They filed a negligence action against defendant corporation in the Hillsborough-southern Judicial District Court (New Hampshire) under theories of respondeat superior and negligent supervision. The trial court granted the corporation's motion for summary judgment and the injured persons appealed.

The court held that the motion to dismiss should not have been granted. If proven, the facts alleged in the injured persons' pleadings, together with the reasonable inferences derived therefrom, would constitute a basis for relief under their respondeat superior and negligent supervision claims.

The court found that the injured persons had alleged that the movement of the corporation's employee's trailer for temporary personal use was understood to be part of the agreement between the employee and the corporation regarding the employee's provision of the farming equipment and removal of the hay, and was therefore incidental to employment. This allegation could lead to a finding that would support recovery based on the doctrine of respondeat superior if found to be true by a jury. The court further held that the injured persons' allegations that although the employee was involved in several accidents involving vehicles and equipment while in the corporation's employ, his activities were not closely supervised, and his equipment and vehicles were not regularly inspected raised a jury issue as to whether the corporation negligently supervised the employee.

-Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer may be held vicariously responsible for the tortious acts of an employee committed incidental to or during the scope of employment.
-An employer may be directly liable for damages resulting from the negligent supervision of its employee's activities. The employer's duty to exercise reasonable care to control its employee may extend to activities performed outside the scope of employment.

CONCLUSION: The court reversed the trial court's granting of the corporation's motion for summary judgment and remanded the matter for further proceedings.

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