Wrongful Death, Negligent Security Allegations Surround 19-Year-Old’s Death
The family of a 19-year-old girl has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her apartment complex after she was murdered, according to a recent press release. According to the lawsuit, the apartment complex hired a staffer who murdered the girl. Her body was found in a nearby wooded area.
Police say a maintenance worker for the apartment complex is to blame for the girl’s death. The family is suing the owners and operators of the apartment complex but has also aimed their ire at police who they say did not act fast enough to save their daughter’s life.
The case against police
You can’t file negligence lawsuits against police for failing to act immediately to a complaint. The Supreme Court has supported police officers in their ability to make decisions concerning which cases they manage and when. That means that the public has no recourse to sue a police officer for what they did not do. You can sue a police officer for what they did do, so long as it was outside the scope of their duties.
The case against the defendant’s employer
Companies face no such immunity from lawsuits when their employees either fail to act or act maliciously. Since it was the company that placed the girl in harm’s way, it is the company that is liable for the girl’s death. The alleged killer was found dead from an apparent suicide.
This brings up a tricky topic. What liability should a company have for the conduct of its employees? Well, this isn’t strictly a negligent hiring lawsuit. The company is not solely being faulted for hiring a potential sexual predator or serial killer. The company is being faulted for placing their residents in harm’s way.
Complexities involving vicarious liability
Vicarious liability only applies to work-related activities. In most cases, one employee murdering another person does not fall on their employer to resolve. However, in this case, the employer gave the employee access to the victim. Had the employer not done that, the two would have never come together. Further, the murderer only had access to the victim because of his job. Hence, the employer is liable even though murder falls outside of the scope of his employment duties.
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