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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and helped a number of businesses with litigation.
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Scenario Summary Cartman works for Authorit-I, an Delaware

Customer Question

Scenario Summary:

Cartman works for Authorit-I, an Delaware based corporation that sells security equipment to businesses and bars. Cartman’s duties include traveling to prospective clients and meeting with representatives of the businesses in his sales division.

Cartman is on the road more than half the year. He often does not come home for more than a few days at a time. Over the course of his 17 years of employment with Authorit-I, Cartman has had several stretches on the road that last three months or more.

Cartman, during his travels, often has to buy toiletries and such. During a sales trip to Southperks, Colorado in March 2008, Cartman found it necessary to wash his laundry. He also wanted to buy an anniversary present for his wife. Cartman went to the mall to buy the present. While at the mall, Cartman saw a ring that he really liked but could not afford. He decided he wanted the five-finger discount and took the ring. He then went to Kenny’s Poor-Man’s Bar to meet with a client, Kyle. Kenny’s wasn’t a client of Cartman’s, but Kyle didn’t like his customers to see him “doing business.”

Cartman was talking with Kenny about business when he spilled his drink all over the bar. That made him think about this cool trick where you put pure grain alcohol in your mouth, blow it out and light it. Cartman took a big drink, took out his lighter, and said, “What this!” He lit his lighter, blew the liquid and a fireball went through the room. The fireball hit Kenny and killed him instantly. The bar also sustained a lot of damage. Kyle screamed, “YOU KILLED KENNY!” Authorit-I fired Cartman without even interviewing him to get his version of the events. Authorit-I’s handbook required all employees to be interviewed before termination. A week later, Cartman called Kyle to make amends. When they met, Cartman said, "The company and I are so sorry about what happened. Let me take you out to dinner - Authorit-I will pay the bill." They went to a restaurant, and instantly got into an argument because Kyle told Cartman he was fat. Cartman punched Kyle in the eye, causing severe eye damage.
The Kenny’s mother (his only heir), Kyle, and Kenny’s Poor-Man’s Bar (which was owned by five men, including Kenny), sue Authorit-I for the damage caused by Cartman. Cartman sues Authorit-I for wrongful termination. Lastly, the jewelry store sues Authorit-I for the value of the ring.

Your Role/Assignment:

You are the judge in these cases! Who should prevail? In your answer, discuss the relevant law and apply the facts given to that law. If you need more facts to come to a conclusion, state what additional facts are necessary.

Questions:

Question 1: Should Cartman win his wrongful termination suit with Authorit-I?

Solution:


Question 2: Will Authorit-I be liable to the owners of Kenny’s bar? What about Kenny’s mom? Does the same law apply to both cases?

Solution:


Question 3: Will Kyle win his lawsuit against Authorit-I for his injuries?

Solution:


Question 4: If you were Authorit-I’s CEO or head of HR, what policies would you implement to try to limit your liability for people such as Cartman?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 4 years ago.
Do you need case cites or just a general discussion of principles of law?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

A general discussion of principles of law, about 1 to 2 paragraphs for each question.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 4 years ago.
This is going to take a little while because i have to work it around other questions to do it for this price, when do you need it?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
This evening,but I can increase the price.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 4 years ago.
Hi, the the website was glitching yesterday and wouldn't let me access your question to work on it. Do you still need it?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
yes I do
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 4 years ago.
I will work on it today and get it to you a little later.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 27290
Experience: Practicing for over 20 years and helped a number of businesses with litigation.
Dwayne B. and 8 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I was just curious what time today that it will be ready?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 4 years ago.
I'm working on it now. Shouldn't be a lot longer
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you!
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 4 years ago.
1) Should Cartman win wrongful termination suit?

It will depend on the law of the state where he was employed.

Some few states have held that an employee handbook with provisions such as the one stating an employee would be interviewed before termination could be read as forming a contract, express or implied, of employment. If it was a contract then Authorit-I has breached the contract and wrongfully discharged Cartman. However, in a pure employment at will state the situation would be different because the employer can terminate an employee for any reason and the handbook does not form a contract.

The employer, Authorit-I, will likely respond in any case that the immediate termination was necessary because Cartman was a danger, but this argument shouldn’t be effective because a suspension would have been just as effective from a safety angle without violating its’ own policies.

2) Will Authorit-I be responsible to the owners of Kenny’s bar?

Likely so, assuming that at the time Cartman caused the damage he was working in furtherance of Authorit-I’s business and was “in the course and scope of his employment”. Even though Kenny’s was not a customer, Kyle was, and Kyle requested the meeting be held there. Authorit-I may argue that it is not responsible for the criminal acts of its employees, or that trying to blow a fireball is not in the course and scope, but if the actions appear to be more negligent than criminal and if Cartman regularly met clients at bars and Authorit-I knew and/or condoned such a meeting place then they will probably be held responsible for all or at least a portion of the damage. The key here is the course and scope concept.

What about Kenny’s mom?

Yes, Authorit-I would be liable based on the same reasoning as above. Immediately before the fireball, Cartman was talking to Kenny about business. Assuming it was business Cartman was trying to get for his company in some manner then the above reasoning would apply along with the same possible defenses.

3) Will Kyle win his lawsuit against Authorit-I for his injuries?

This is answered under the assumption that the injuries Kyle is complaining of were only the ones from the punch and nothing from the fireball.

You would have to know more facts to answer this one. Specifically, Cartman told Kyle that he and the company were sorry for what had happened and that the company was buying dinner but the facts do not indicate whether the company was indeed aware of this or whether Cartman was working for the company again at that time, only that he had been terminated.

If Cartman was not working for the company, then they would not be responsible, plus they may not be responsible if he was working for them since punching Kyle would not have been in the course and scope and was a criminal act which is rarely within the course and scope.

Kyle may argue that he was unaware Cartman had been terminated and that Cartman had “apparent authority or apparent agency” but this doesn’t apply in a case like this but is instead meant more for contractual type arguments

4) I would state explicitly that employees are not to consume alcohol during or before meetings, all meetings are to be conducted either at the place of business or a place that doesn’t serve alcohol. Further, any conduct such as horseplay are not in the course and scope of employment and forbidden, and any damages caused by that are solely the employees responsibility.


The question didn’t ask but the facts said that the jewelry store sued Authorit-I as well, but they wouldn’t be responsible for the value of the ring since stealing the ring wasn’t a part of Cartman’s job nor done in the furtherance of their business.

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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B.
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Practicing for over 20 years and helped a number of businesses with litigation.