First Opinion – Carz Bazaar
After careful analysis of the case, I would inform Vice President Dodger that the likely outcome of this case would be a ruling in favor for the Defendant, Carz Bazaar. The company is not liable for the tortious act made by his employee, Charles Wilson; therefore, it is not subject to vicarious liability. Furthermore, this would relieve the business of any damages owed to the Plaintiff. My decision in favor of the Defendant is based on the following reasons.
An agent has a duty to exercise due care and diligence when carrying out the responsibilities of the agency (Duties of an Agent, n.d.). Wilson, as an agent of Carz Bazaar, has the duty of care to accomplish his assigned tasks appropriately and the responsibility to not act negligently while performing those assigned tasks. However, Wilson failed to uphold his duty of care to his employer when he purposely disregarded the existing vehicle policy for moving vehicles. Additionally, Mitchell as the attendant in charge, did not exercise her duty of obedience or obey the reasonable instructions of the company. Mitchell allowed Wilson to utilize a company vehicle for personal reasons and did not properly follow the key control procedures of logging a vehicle out the in the computer system.
As a defense, Carz Bazaar can claim frolic and detour. Frolic and detour are when an employee’s conduct is outside the scope of employment and is conducted purely for the employee’s own benefit. Frolic and detour is a defense to vicarious tort liability where the employer is not liable for damages employees cause while on a frolic and detour (Frolic and Detour, n.d.).
The company could argue that Wilson, himself, is the one liable for the Plaintiffs injuries. Wilson intentionally took a company vehicle to go his mother’s house by deviating company policy and outside the scope of his employment duties for his own benefit. While driving the company vehicle, Wilson rear-ended the Plaintiff’s car causing injuries. The company is not liable for the Wilson’s tortious actions as his employee under Frolic and Detour. The likely outcome would be in favor of the Defendent.
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I believe if this case were to go to court, the defendant would have a strong case in favor of their story. The two employees worked out of scope of the defendant’s company guidelines and created a situation that would not have happened if the rules and protocols were followed properly by the two individuals. The reasons and recommendations are as follows:
Also, Carz Bazaar should claim that the car was stolen, because it was not checked out properly and that would put the responsibility on Charles for the accident of the company vehicle and the injuries of the plaintiffs. The company should terminate Gina and Charles for the entire situation due their negligence of not following the company’s protocol. The vehicle should never have been taken off the property for those reasons and both parties know that was against company policy.
Gordon, Jason M. & Collegues (n.d) Business Law: An Introduction; Agency and Liability retrieved from https://leocontent.umgc.edu/content/umuc/tgs/mba/mba630/2202/learning-resourcelist1/agency-and-liability.html?ou=457579
Second Opinion – Carz Bazaar
In the matter of Injured Driver & Passenger v Carz Bazaar, I would decide in favor of the Defendant. This case rests on the relationship between Charles Wilson and Gina Mitchell, employees of Carz Bazaar, and whether or not Carz Bazaar can be held liable for their actions per agency law, which establishes the legal relationship between principals (employers) and those that act on their behalf (employees, in our scenario). Since the burden of proof rests with the Plaintiff, in my view, the fact pattern more clearly supports Carz Bazaar’s arguments.
While Charles Wilson is an agent of Carz Bazaar, at the time of the incident, Charles was acting outside of company policy and not in performance of his job duties, thus relieving the company of liability for his actions. While moving vehicles from dealer lots, between showrooms or gassing up are part of Mr. Wilson’s scope of employment, taking the vehicle for personal use is not. Mr. Wilson’s actions can be characterized by the principal of “frolic and detour”; he was acting outside the scope of his job duties and for his own personal benefit. Mr. Wilson violated both his duty of loyalty and duty of obedience by acting in his own self-interest and against company policy.
Gina Mitchell, also in her capacity as an employee was responsible for ensuring the established key-control procedures for vehicle use—for which she was trained. Violating her duty of obedience to authorize the personal use of the vehicle, despite established protocols, was neither in the interests of Carz Bazaar, nor allowable by express or implied authority.
The company cannot be held liable for torts committed by its employees for conduct it neither authorizes nor condones. Charles Wilson and Gina Mitchell are personally liable for their actions in this case and justice is not served by vicariously holding Carz Bazaar responsible.
University of Maryland Global Campus (2020). Agency and Liability. Retrieved from: https://leocontent.umgc.edu/content/umuc/tgs/mba/mba630/2202/learning-resourcelist1/agency-and-liability.html?ou=457579
Third Opinion – Carz Bazaar
If the case for Carz Bazaar versus the Plaintiffs were to be brought to a court of law, the former will likely be relieved of the damages brought on by the plaintiffs. Although Charles Wilson is an agent of the principal , meaning he may act on behalf of Carz Bazaar, he was not operating in his scope of responsibilities at the time of the accident and the employer was unaware of him taking the car (Legal Responsibilities of Agents and Employees, n.d).
Charles is a limited agent with duties to wash, gas, moving cars from lot to lot, and maintaining showroom cars only. He has a duty to be loyal and obedient to the responsibilities assigned and by asking Gina Mitchell to run a personal errand, he was not (Agency and Liability, n.d). In fact, the rule is that every time an employee checks out a vehicle, the reason must be for company business use.
Also, in Carz Bazaar’s defense, cars are to be documented each time a car is taken off the lot, with the aid of Gina Mitchell, Charles was able to use a car on his lunch break without proper logging of the car (Carz Bazaar, n.d). This goes against both Gina and Charles scope of responsibilities. That makes Carz Bazaar not responsible through respondeat superior, meaning they do not have vicarious liability for Charles or Gina. In layman’s terms, although Carz Bazaar is responsible for Charles Wilson and Gina as their employer, they are not responsible for his acts because they did not know the car was missing.
To further the defense against vicarious liability, the company can argue the act of frolic and detour against Charles. This means that the principal should not be liable for the tortious acts of the agent when the agent is acting outside the scope of her employment and for the benefit of someone other than the employer (Agency and Liability, n.d). In other words, because Charles did not follow the rules set for him under the employment of Carz Bazaar, then Carz Bazaar is not responsible for the tortious acts committed by Charles Wilson that led up to the accident. In this case, the likely outcome is that Carz Bazaar will be relieved of the responsibility of the damages brought on by the Plaintiffs.
Fourth Opinion – Carz Bazaar
If this case were to be taken to court, it is highly likely that Carz Bazaar, would win. The plaintiffs understandably moved to sue the company which Charles Wilson worked for because at the time of the incident, he told the police officer that he was on a lunch break and had official authorization to use the company vehicle. As a result of this, the plaintiffs had every reason to believe this was true. Despite this, once it would become apparent during the trial that Charles was acting on his own accord and did not receive approval to use the vehicle, it would be nearly impossible to find Carz Bazaar liable for his actions.
Had Charles been acting under official business, it is much more likely the plaintiffs would successfully be able to successfully win a suit against the company. For example, if the accident had occurred during a routine vehicle transport which had been documented by the attendant, the company would most likely be found liable as Charles would be acting as a general agent of Carz Bazaar. According to the UMGC article on Agency, a general agent “has broad authority to act on behalf of the principal.” As an employee of the company, Charles would fit this description. This would result in the company most likely being determined culpable for this action because Charles would not have been in that location & conducting the work-related task if he had not been acting specifically under company directives.