Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Walkovsky v. Carlton case brief

Walkovsky v. Carlton case brief summary
223 N.E.2d 6 (1966)

Defendant appealed an order of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department (New York), in which the court held that plaintiff had sufficiently stated a cause of action under the doctrine of respondeat superior to hold defendant stockholder personally liable for injuries caused by corporations.

Plaintiff alleged that he was injured when a taxicab struck him. Defendant was stockholder of ten corporations, each of which had two cabs registered in its name and carried the minimum automobile insurance required by law. Although independent of one another, the corporations were alleged to have operated as a single enterprise. Plaintiff contended that he was entitled to hold defendant personally liable for his damages because the multiple corporate structure constituted an unlawful attempt to defraud members of the public.

Defendant appealed the court's ruling that plaintiff had stated a cause of action.


  • The decision was reversed because plaintiff 's complaint failed to allege that defendant was doing business in his individual capacity.

  • Whenever anyone used control of a corporation to further his own rather than the corporation's business, he would be liable for the corporation's acts under the principle of respondeat superior. 
The court reversed the lower court's decision and held that plaintiff's complaint failed to allege that defendant was doing business in his individual capacity.

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