Turner v. U.S.A. Logistics, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 004-010-16, 12 pp.) (David Keesler, USMJ) 3:14-cv-00289; W.D.N.C.
Holding: At the time of an accident that fatally injured plaintiff’s decedent, the defendant-truck driver was operating a tractor-trailer as an agent of defendant U.S.A. Logistics, Inc., in the normal course and furtherance of USA Logistics’ business. Where a defendant is liable for the acts of its agent via respondeat superior or vicarious liability, a claim for negligent hiring, supervision and retention against that defendant cannot proceed.
The court dismisses plaintiff’s claims for negligent hiring and negligent supervision and retention.
As Judge Robert Conrad said in Pracht v. Saga Freight Logistics, LLC, 3:13cv529-RJC-DCK, 2015 WL 591037 (W.D.N.C. Oct. 9, 2015), “The application of a theory of independent negligence in hiring, training, supervising, or retaining an employee is important in cases where the employee’s acts were not within the scope of his or her employment…. In such a case, this theory allows a plaintiff to establish liability on the part of the employer where no liability would otherwise exist…. In other words, these claims arise when an employee is acting outside the scope of employment, and they may only be asserted as an alternative to respondeat superior liability.”