North Carolina Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Vicarious Liability and Negligent Hiring & Retention Claims against Employer in Alleged Assault Case

If you are injured due to someone else’s carelessness, you can bring a claim against them to recover compensation for your damages. If the at-fault party was working during the time that the accident occurred, you may also be able to bring a claim against his or her employer based on a doctrine called vicarious liability. This doctrine holds employers liable for the tortious acts that their employees commit during the course and scope of employment. North Carolina personal injury attorney Jason Burton has assisted individuals throughout the state with determining whether bringing a claim for damages against an employer is possible. He is available to help you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve based on the circumstances of your injury and accident.

In a recent North Carolina lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that he suffered emotional distress, assault, and battery as the result of a political campaign manager’s conduct. He alleged that the campaign manager held a gun against his leg when he was riding with the campaign manager in the back of a limousine. In his complaint against the campaign and campaign manager, the plaintiff alleged multiple claims including negligent hiring and retention, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery. In response to the complaint, the campaign moved for summary judgment and the lower court granted it. This means that the lower court did not find enough evidence to support the plaintiff’s claims against the employer.

The plaintiff appealed and the appellate court concluded that dismissal of the claims against the campaign itself was appropriate. The campaign manager was not an actual employee of the campaign, but instead was an independent contractor for hire. To determine whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor, the court considers several factors including whether the employer has the ability to exercise control over the worker’s decisions and activities. The more control that the employer can exert, the more likely the court will conclude that the worker is an employee and not an independent contractor.

Applied here, the court found facts showing that the campaign had little say in how the campaign manager carried out his duties. The record also lacked any facts showing that the campaign knew or should have known that the campaign manager brandished a weapon, carried a weapon, or was prone to acts of violence and aggression. If the plaintiff had been able to show some signs of prior conduct similar to the allegations in the complaint, the campaign may have been liable for negligent hiring and retention.

If you suffered injuries as a result of someone’s careless or reckless conduct, then you may be eligible for compensation. It can be difficult to know how to go about asserting your rights and ensuring that you hold all liable parties responsible. Failing to include a defendant in your cause of action can create serious issues for your right to recovery or result in a damages award that is lower than what you deserve. North Carolina personal injury attorney Jason Burton is available for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your situation and whether he can help you obtain the compensation that you deserve. To schedule your meeting, call us today at 1-833-623-0042 or contact us online to get started.