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.
A Los Angeles Judge has ordered that coffee companies such as Starbucks must put Cancer Warnings on their coffee products that are sold within California. The ruling was based on potential carcinogens being used during the roasting process of the coffee beans. One of the chemicals, acrylamide, is used to make the beans more flavorful, but has been linked to potential cancer in mice.
Chase McBride has been selected to be published in the March edition of the Oklahoma Bar Journal focusing on the area of Family Law. Mr. McBride's article entitled "Court-Ordered Grandparent Visitation" focuses on Grand-Parental Rights in Oklahoma and the steps and burdens a grandparent must demonstrate in Court in order to receive court ordered visitation with a grandchild.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal is the official member publication of the Oklahoma Bar Association. The Journal helps attorneys across Oklahoma stay current on legal topics, practice areas of the law, trends in the legal profession, ethics and practice management tips.
To view Mr. McBride's article in the online edition of the Oklahoma Bar Journal, click the photos below:
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
Our attorneys have successfully handled criminal charges ranging from first time misdemeanors to First Degree Murder and other felonies. Our attorneys have also successfully handled criminal appeals.
If you are charged with a crime, you need to make sure you have a lawyer keeping you informed of your case and protecting your rights. Contact us immediately if you believe you are may be charged with a crime or have been charged.
Chase McBride of our law firm has been elected as President for the Mayes County Bar Association. The Mayes County Bar Association is a voluntary association of attorneys who regularly practice in Mayes County and have an interest in the community. The association provides services to the members and gives the public an opportunity to learn more about individual attorneys.
Merry Christmas from everyone at Ritchie, Rock & McBride Law Firm. We hope your holidays will be filled with joy and laughter through the New Year. Thank you for your continued support and partnerships. We look forward to serving you in the years to come. Merry Christmas!
A Oklahoma man was charged with thirteen counts of cruelty to animals. The man argued that the maltreatment of his dogs all happened at this same time and location so it should be just one count instead of thirteen. After reviewing the case, Oklahoma’s Highest Court disagreed with the man and held that he could be charged with all thirteen counts. The Court noted that the dogs were separately chained or in separate pins. The Court then looked at the statute regarding Cruelty to Animals and determined that the intent of the statute was to protect the maltreatment of any particular animal. The man is now facing all thirteen Counts in Grant County.
For more details click the case below:
State v. Gilchrist, 2017 OK CR 25