The Oklahoma Court recently held that a business negligently entrusting an employee with a vehicle can be held liable for a separate and distinct claim from the respondent superior doctrine if the employee is involved in a crash.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court issued an Opinion on September 18, 2018 in Fox v. Mize that an employer's liability for negligently entrusting a vehicle to an unfit employee is a separate and distinct theory of liability from that of an employer's liability under the respondeat superior doctrine. Even an employer's stipulation that an accident occurred during the course and scope of employment does not bar a separate negligent entrustment claim.
What is the respondeat superior doctrine (also called vicarious liability)? The term Respondeat Superior is Latin that translates to “Let the Master Speak for Himself”. This law requires an employer to be liable for the acts of an employee if the act was conducted within the scope of their employment.
This case arose when a truck driver was in an accident that killed a motorcyclist while the truck driver was driving for his employer. The administrator of the deceased estate brought a lawsuit for negligence against the truck driver and against the employer under the respondeat superior theory. The administrator also sued the employer for negligent entrustment of allowing the driver to drive the businesses vehicle.
The court held that this was proper because the negligence claim under the respondeat superior theory was for a separate and distinct act than the act of negligently entrusting the driver to drive the business vehicle.
How can this affect a business? The Court stated, “Employers employing unfit and unqualified drivers cannot insulate themselves from a negligent entrustment claim simply by stipulating that the employee driver was acting in the course and scope of employment.”
If you own a business, you need to make sure you have a procedure and are following it when entrusting any of your employees with a vehicle (or other action for that matter). If you follow a proper established procedure to ensure that your employees are properly trained and prepared for the tasks you give them, you will be better prepared to defend a similar claim if one arises against your business.
2018 Interest Rates: In accordance with 12 O.S. 2013 Supp. §727.1 (I), the postjudgment interest rate to be charged on judgments for calendar year 2018 shall be 6.50 percent. Also, the prejudgment interest rate for calendar year 2018 shall be 0.92 percent (applicable to actions filed on or after January 1, 2010). These interest rates will be in effect from January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2018. - Oklahoma Supreme Court Network
FICO scores are calculated by combining the following from your credit history
Credit Scores range usually range from 300-800. While different lenders use different ranges for credit qualification, a score that is above 700 is typically considered good and will qualify individuals and scores below 580 are typically considered bad.
FICO has created the video below to help explain further how they calculate your score.
CLAIMING CHILDREN AS TAX DEPENDENTS AFTER DIVORCE IS AKIN TO CHILD SUPPORT, NOT PROPERTY DIVISION AND MAY BE MODIFIED AFTER THE DIVORCE.
The Oklahoma Court of Appeals recently ruled that the right to claim a child as a dependent for tax purposes is related to an award of child support, not part of property division in a divorce. The Court cites several cases from other states as supporting the decision. The Court further stated that since the right to claim the parties’ children as dependents is modifiable, it implies such rights are akin to child support.
What does this mean for divorced parents? Anytime a modification is properly filed to change the amount of child support, it is also opening the door for a change as to which parent may claim the child or children on their taxes. To help avoid this issue, it is important to address which parent is going to be able to claim the children on their taxes and on which years they will be able to claim them. If this issue is properly addressed in the original decree, it will help avoid issues regarding taxes down the road.
If you are going through a divorce or are in need of modifying an existing child support order, it is important to hire lawyers that understand these issue. Call Ritchie, Rock & McBride Law Firm at 888-848-4558.
For the Court's full opinion click here: Barnes v. Barnes, 2017 OK CIV APP 38.
Evidence! Evidence! Evidence! It is always important in custody battles to have evidence that supports your position. With that in mind, here are some easy and useful ways to successfully gather evidence to support your custody case at trial.
A new law will take effect in Oklahoma that makes it illegal to drive in the left lane unless passing another vehicle. The left lane will become a true passing lane. If pulled over for a violation, a ticket could cost as much as $235.00. There are expected to be street signs around the state to remind drivers to use the left lane for passing only.
A new Oklahoma law is set to become active on November 1, 2017. The new law allows for DUI suspects to have the option to have an ignition interlock devices put into their vehicles and take a DUI prevention course or await the outcomes of their criminal cases to determine whether their license revocations are upheld.
It will also become illegal for drunken driving suspects to refuse to take a breath test in Oklahoma. The new law also will abolish the civil administrative process that suspects currently use to challenge the revocation of their driver's licenses.
Common law marriage is when two people are considered married without ever applying for a marriage license. Oklahoma recognizes common law marriage. Common law marriage usually becomes an issue if a couple that has lived together for a long period of time breaks up or when one of them dies and the surviving party wants to inherit the deceased’s belongings through a probate.
Common law marriage occurs when the parties agree that they married. A common law marriage is formed when ‘the minds of the parties meet in consent at the same time.’ Oklahoma Courts will consider and weigh the following factors to indicate whether or not a common law marriage has formed:
Oklahoma Courts have stated, “Often the most persuasive evidence of the existence of a common law marriage is whether the couple listed each other as a “spouse” on legal documents.” In probate issues, Oklahoma Court’s have looked primarily at the documentary evidence written or signed by the deceased to determine whether a common law marriage existed and the date was marriage was entered.
In order to establish common law marriage, the party claiming that a marriage existed must be proved the marriage by clear and convincing evidence.
Oklahoma Small Claims Court limit is increasing from $7,500 to $10,000. The last increase was in 2012.
"Our prisons are way over capacity, and our prison population is expected to grow by 25 percent in the next 10 years,” said Fallin. “Oklahoma’s overall incarceration rate is the second-highest in the country, and we lead the nation in female incarceration – incarcerating women at two-and-a-half times the national average. By 2018, we will have the highest incarceration rate in the country." - Mary Fallin
The Governor's office released a statement regarding the new laws. A link to the statement is below: