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socrateaser, Attorney
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Cartman works for Authorit-I, an Delaware based corporation

Resolved Question:

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, “Watch 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.

Then 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.

Who should prevail?

Discuss the relevant law and apply the facts given to that law.

State what additional facts are necessary to come to a conclusion.

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

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?

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

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: 2 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
Mother, and Bar v. Authorit-I

Negligence

Under the common law, negligence requires that a defendant has a duty to avoid the foreseeable risk of injury to a plaintiff, defendant breaches that duty, defendant is the actual and legally proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries, and plaintiff suffers damages as a consequence of defendant’s actions.

Here, Cartman has the duty of due care of a reasonable person to avoid injury to Kenny and to the Bar, because this is the lowest standard applicable to any person in society. Furthermore, Kenny’s proximity to Cartman, and his location in the Bar, places Kenny and the Bar within the “orbit of danger,” which is an area where foreseeable injury is likely to occur. Cartman breaches his duty to avoid foreseeable risk of injury to Kenny and Bar, because he creates a fireball that could reasonably result in death or injury to other persons and property. Moreover, there is no social benefit to Cartman’s actions – the fireball is simply a reckless action. Cartman is the actual cause of Kenny’s and Bar’s injuries, because “but for” his creating the fireball neither Kenny nor the Bar would have been injured. And Cartman is the legally proximate cause of Kenny’s and Bar’s injuries, because the fireball that Kenny created could be reasonably foreseen to cause injury to others. Cartman could argue that no one would reasonably believe that a fireball from a silly stunt could kill someone else, but this argument is weak, because even if an instant death may be unlikely, death from a resultant fire is not. Finally, Kenny has suffered damages, because he is dead, and the Bar is damaged from the fire.

Therefore, Cartman is liable for negligence.

Respondeat Superior

Under the common law, an employer is vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of an employee done within the scope of employment.

Here, Authorit-I is liable for Cartman’s negligence because Cartman was discussing business with Kenny at the time of the injuries, and even though this was not the original intent of the business, Cartman’s actions causing injury were entirely proximate to the conduct of business on Authorit-I’s behalf.

Therefore, Authorit-I is liable in respondeat superior.

Detour and Frolic

Under the common law, an employer is not liable for an employee who injures other while willfully diverting him/herself from his/her job duties.

Here, Authorit-I will argue that Cartman’s actions were an absurd detour from his job responsibilities. However, this defense will fail, because everything that was taking place right up until the moment of the fireball stunt was business related for Authorit-I’s benefit.

Kyle v. Cartman

Assault

Under the common law, assault is the intentional creation of an apprehension of imminent physical injury in another, without consent or privilege.

Here, Cartman undoubtedly terrified Kyle with the fireball stunt, because who wouldn’t believe that they were at imminent risk of physical injury upon seeing fireball instantly killing another person in close proximity to themselves.

Cartman can claim no defense here, thus he is liable to Kyle for assault.

Cartman v. Authorit-I

Wrongful Termination

Under the common law, wrongful termination is the discharge of an employee in violation of public policy. However, in the absence of an express public policy statute, the “at-will” employment doctrine holds that an employer or employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, and for any reason – or for no reason whatsoever.

Here, because there is no public policy protecting an employee for negligently killing another person and destroying private property in the process, Cartman’s wrongful termination action will fail.

Implied Contract Exception

Under common law of a minority of jurisdictions, an employee can sue for breach of contract where an employer fails to follow its own disciplinary processes.

Here, because Cartman was entitled to an interview prior to termination, he has an action for breach of contract. However, this is not a defense to wrongful termination, but rather an action on the employment contract. Therefore, this defense will fail to prevent Cartman’s termination.

Store v. Authorit-I

Conversion

Conversion is the intentional unlawful exercise of domination and control over the property of another sufficient to warrant a forced sale.

Here, Cartman’s theft of the ring was clearly intended by his actions to take a “five-finger discount,” and it was obviously designed to exercise permanent dominion and control, because Cartman never returned the ring. However, employer’s are not liable for the intentional torts of their employees, because such actions are considered outside the scope of employment. Moreover, the theft occurred during a period of time where no business was taking place.

Therefore, Store’s conversion suit will fail.

Negligence

Defined supra.

Here, Store could argue that that Authorit-I failed to use due care in supervising Cartman. However, outside salespersons customarily have always acted with relative independence and it is unreasonable to hold Authorit-I liable under a theory that is never applied to other businesses in similar circumstances.

Therefore, Store’s negligence suit will fail, and Store’s recourse will be solely against Cartman for the cost of the ring.

finis
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 32915
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Can Kyle win a lawsuit against Authortit-I?

 

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?

Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
Can Kyle win a lawsuit against Authortit-I?

Note: This is covered in the following section of my essay (reproduced below):

  • Cartman v. Authorit-I

  • Wrongful Termination

  • Under the common law, wrongful termination is the discharge of an employee in violation of public policy. However, in the absence of an express public policy statute, the “at-will” employment doctrine holds that an employer or employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, and for any reason – or for no reason whatsoever.

  • Here, because there is no public policy protecting an employee for negligently killing another person and destroying private property in the process, Cartman’s wrongful termination action will fail.

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?

 

A: The CEO can mitigate the possibility of persons such as Cartman by:

 

  • Conduct security background checks prior to hiring to screen out persons with a public history of unlawful conduct
  • Carry liability insurance to cover employee negligence
  • Conduct customer follow-up surveys on a routine basis, in order to discover any employee behavioral issues
  • Conduct employee surveys to discover job satisfaction issues (fair compensation and benefits may improve employee conduct)
  • Note: Polygraph tests are inherently unreliable, illegal under federal law, absent special procedures, and psychological testing, in general can be used as the basis for class-based unlawful discrimination (race, color, nationality, religion, sex, age, disability). Thus this route, if implemented, may create more risk than it mitigates.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 32915
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is Kyle and Cartman the same person? I wanted to know if Kyle can win a lawsuit against Authorit-I for injuries he sustained?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
Oh, sorry. My reading skills apparently aren't awake yet. Regardless, Kyle's claim is covered in this section:


  • Kyle v. Cartman

  • Assault
  • Under the common law, assault is the intentional creation of an apprehension of imminent physical injury in another, without consent or privilege.

  • Here, Cartman undoubtedly terrified Kyle with the fireball stunt, because who wouldn’t believe that they were at imminent risk of physical injury upon seeing fireball instantly killing another person in close proximity to themselves.

  • Cartman can claim no defense here, thus he is liable to Kyle for assault.
Finis
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 32915
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you

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