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Debate This: Respondeat Superior – Law Firm 7
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Debate This: Respondeat Superior
Chapter 2, p. 661
Lynne Meyer, on her way to a business meeting and in a hurry, stopped by a Buy-Mart store for a new car charger for her smartphone. There was a long line at one of the checkout counters, but a cashier, Valerie Watts, opened another counter and began loading the cash drawer. Meyer told Watts that she was in a hurry and asked Watts to work faster. Watts, however, only slowed her pace. At this point, Meyer hit Watts. It is not clear whether Meyer hit Watts intentionally or, in an attempt to retrieve the car charger, hit her inadvertently. In response, Watts grabbed Meyer by the hair and hit her repeatedly in the back of the head, while Meyer screamed for help. Management personnel separated the two women and questioned them about the incident. Watts was immediately fired for violating the store’s no-fighting policy. Meyer subsequently sued Buy-Mart, alleging that the store was liable for the tort (assault and battery) committed by its employee. Using the information presented in the chapter, answer the following questions.
Under what doctrine discussed in this chapter might Buy-Mart be held liable for the tort committed by Watts?
What is the key factor in determining whether Buy-Mart is liable under this doctrine?
Did Watts’s behavior constitute an intentional tort or a tort of negligence? How would this differ-ence affect Buy-Mart’s potential liability
Suppose that when Watts applied for the job at Buy-Mart, she disclosed in her application that she had previously been convicted of felony assault and battery. Nevertheless, Buy-Mart hired Watts as a cashier. How might this fact affect Buy-Mart’s liability for Watts’s actions
Debate This:
The doctrine of respondeat superior should be modified to make agents solely liable for some of their own tortious (wrongful) acts
Respondeat superior is a legal notion that holds an owner accountable for the workers’ behavior while they are on the job(Van Loo, 2020). Organizations face significant civil and criminal penalties under modern laws based on respondeat superior(Ehrenzweig, 2021). Such laws are intended to compel companies to be watchful about the behavior of their employees. Respondeat superior demands that the company’s agent conducts the offense while operating within the agent’s power and influence the organization.
This article discusses the doctrine of Respondent Superior. Under this concept, an institution’s owner may be held accountable for the actions of institution workers or agents. As per the circumstances of Buy-Mart, the company might be held accountable for Watts’ actions. Under the notion of Respondeat Superior, the owners are in the perfect situation in evaluating workers since they incur the expenses that emerge as a consequence of damages incurred by workers or agency.
The scope of the employee’s employment has been a critical aspect in determining whether Buy-Mart is responsible under the doctrines Respondeat Superior. It examines whether or whether an individual employee’s behavior was within the scope of his employment, as well as the employer’s culpability for employee conduct in a tortious circumstance.
Watts’s actions constituted an indictable offense or a breach of carelessness, and as a result, Buy- Mart’s responsibility will be influenced since Watts perpetrated the tort while working for Buy-Mart (as a cashier), and the concept of respondeat superior does not distinguish between the two.
Buy Mart will suffer as a result of this circumstance. An owner who is aware that a worker has a proclivity to do tortious conduct is liable for the worker’s actions, even though the conduct is not within the scope of employment. As a result, even though Watt’s actions were beyond the scope of his work, Buy Mart would still be responsible for them.
There are just a few instances in which the owner can be held accountable for a tortious act committed by an agent. These situations imply irresponsibility or a lack of real purpose on the part of the owner. As a result, there is no need to change the respondeat superior theory to hold agents solely accountable for their tortious activities. However, some may argue that as both employee and employer gain from each other, every individual, whether an agent or not, is accountable for their tortious activities, necessitating changes to the respondeat superior theory.
Work Cited
Ehrenzweig, A. A. (2021). § 4. Respondeat superior and res ipsa loquitur. The Rule is conquered. In Negligence Without Fault (pp. 18–21). University of California Press.
Van Loo, R. (2020). The Revival of Respondeat Superior and Evolution of Gatekeeper Liability. Georgetown Law Journal, 109.

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