Thursday, November 21, 2013

Papa John’s International, Inc. v. McCoy case brief

Papa John’s International, Inc. v. McCoy case brief summary
244 S.W.3d 44 (2008)

Appellants, a franchisor and a franchisee, challenged a judgment of the Court of Appeals (Kentucky), which reversed a trial court judgment granting them summary judgment with regard to appellee customer's claims for malicious prosecution and defamation arising in connection with a pizza delivery to the customer by the franchisee's employee.

The customer claimed that after he paid for a pizza delivery, the employee made false statements to the police, resulting in certain charges against the customer. The charges were eventually dropped, and the customer sued appellants for malicious prosecution and defamation. The trial court granted summary judgment to appellants on both claims.

  • The appellate court reversed. 
  • Reversing the appellate court's decision, the court concluded that the franchisee could not be held vicariously liable for the statements that the employee made to the police as the acts complained of occurred within an independent course of conduct that could not have been intended by the employee to serve any purpose of the franchisee. 
  • The franchisor could not be held liable because it had no control over the employee's intentional, tortious conduct.

The court reversed the appellate court's decision and reinstated the trial court's judgment for the franchisor and the franchisee on all claims.

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