Corley v. Boltech Mannings, Inc.

Filing 54

MEMORANDUM AND OPINION granting the Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Signed by Senior Judge Charles R. Butler, Jr on 4/28/2014. (adk)

Download PDF
IN  THE  UNITED  STATES  DISTRICT  COURT  FOR  THE   SOUTHERN  DISTRICT  OF  ALABAMA   SOUTHERN  DIVISION     LINDA  S.  CORLEY,   Individually,  and  as   Representative  of  the   Estate  of  Darryl  Corley,   Deceased,     Plaintiff,     v.     BOLTECH  MANNINGS,   INC.,     Defendant.         )   )   )   )   )   )   )   )   )   )   )   )   )   )                 CIVIL  ACTION  NO.   13-­‐00108-­‐CB-­‐M   OPINION  and  ORDER   This  matter  is  before  the  Court  on  a  motion  for  summary  judgment  filed  by   the  defendant,  Boltech  Mannings,  Inc.  (Doc.  30.)    Plaintiff  has  filed  a  response  to  the   motion  (Doc.  45),  and  Defendant  has  filed  a  reply  (Doc.  41).    After  due  consideration   of  the  issues  raised  and  the  relevant  facts  in  light  of  the  applicable  law,  the  Court   finds  that  the  motion  is  due  to  be  granted.1   Facts     This  action  arises  from  the  tragic  deaths  of  two  men,  Charles  Corley  and   Kenneth  Boyer,  during  a  fishing  trip  off  the  coast  of  Alabama  on  August  27,  2011.   Both  were  employees  of  Boltech  Mannings,  Inc.  (Boltech),  an  industrial  service                                                                                                                   1  Plaintiff  has  also  filed  a  motion  (Doc.  41)  to  strike  portions  of  the  affidavit  of   Kimberly  Boyer,  as  well  as  portions  of  Boyer’s  deposition  testimony.    The  Court  has   not  considered  the  disputed  portions  of  the  testimony  and,  therefore,  deems  the   motion  to  strike  to  be  moot.   provider  located  in  Theodore,  Alabama.  Jacob  Shenesy,  another  Boltech  employee   who  was  on  the  fishing  trip,  survived.     Boyer  was  Boltech’s  plant  operations  manager.  Corley,  who  had  worked  at   Boltech  since  2002,2  was  lead  heat  treatment  technician.    His  job  often  required  him   to  work  for  days,  weeks,  or  months  at  a  time  out  of  town.    Before  Boyer  became   plant  operations  manager,  he  and  Corley  would  travel  to  job  sites  together.     Although  they  did  not  normally  socialize  off  the  job,  Corley’s  wife  described  the  two   as  “compatible,”  noting  that  they  often  drove  together  to  jobs  and  were  in  close   quarters.    According  to  Mrs.  Corley,  the  two  men  had  the  same  nickname  for  each   other,  “Brother  Man.”    As  operations  manager,  Boyer  had  control  over  Corley’s  work   assignments.    This  meant  Boyer  could  assign  jobs  that  were  easier  or  harder,  jobs   that  involved  more  travel  or  less  travel,  or  jobs  that  involved  more  hours  or  fewer   hours.    Boyer  also  had  the  authority  to  recommend  termination.       On  Saturday  morning,  August  27,  Boyer  called  Corley  and  said  he  needed   Corley  to  go  out  with  him  and  check  out  Boyer’s  boat,  which  Boyer  had  just  gotten   out  of  the  shop.  Corley’s  wife  heard  part  of  the  conversation  between  the  two  men   on  speaker  phone.    Corley  initially  said  no,  but  Boyer  “just  kept  on.”  (Corley  Dep.   53.)    Corley  explained  that  he  was  taking  his  mom  out  for  her  birthday,  but  Boyer   just  “still  [kept]  saying  .  .  .  I  need  you  to  go  because  I  –  I  just  –you  know  I  can’t  do  it   by  myself.”    (Id.)    The  conversation  continued  after  Mrs.  Corley  left  the  room.    A  few   minutes  later,  Corley  told  his  wife  that  he  was  going  with  Boyer  and  that  they  might   fish  a  little  but  would  be  back  in  two  or  three  hours.    (Id.)                                                                                                                   2  At  that  time  the  company  was  Mannings.    Several  years  later  Mannings  and   Boltech  merged  to  become  Boltech  Mannings.     2     According  to  Corley’s  wife,  Corley  did  not  want  to  go  out  with  Boyer  for   several  reasons.    First,  he  had  just  gotten  back  from  a  job  in  Chattanooga,  Tennessee   and  was  exhausted.3    Second,  he  was  planning  to  take  his  mother  out  to  lunch  or   dinner  that  day  for  her  birthday,  which  was  the  following  day.    Third,  Corley  had   recently  undergone  a  terrifying  ordeal  involving  the  water  and  did  not  like  to  go   offshore.4    Finally,  Corley  had  gone  out  with  Boyer  in  his  boat  a  couple  of  months   earlier,  but  the  boat  had  mechanical  difficulties  and  they  had  to  return  to  shore.     Mrs.  Corley  believed  that  Boyer  needed  Corley’s  help  to  launch  the  boat  because   Boyer  had  a  bad  ankle.     Boyer  had  also  invited  Jacob  Shenesy  to  go  along  on  the  fishing  trip.  Boyer   was  Shenesy’s  boss,  too,  but  Shenesy  socialized  with  Boyer  outside  of  work.    Boyer   called  Shenesy  on  August  26  and  asked  if  he  wanted  to  go  fishing  the  next  day.     Shenesy  was  eager  to  go.    On  Saturday,  Shenesy  drove  to  Corley’s  house  then  the   two  drove  to  Boyer’s  house  together.       Boyer  had  hitched  the  boat  to  his  company-­‐owned  truck,  and  the  three   headed  to  Dauphin  Island.    On  the  way,  Boyer  stopped  to  put  gas  in  the  truck,  which   he  purchased  using  the  company-­‐credit  card.    Boltech  provided  Boyer  with  a   company  truck,  a  fuel  credit  card,  an  expense  credit  card,  and  a  cell  phone.    They   launched  the  boat  at  Dauphin  Island  then  fished  for  a  while  near  the  mouth  of                                                                                                                   3  Plaintiff  claims  that  Corley  did  not  want  to  go  because  he  had  pneumonia,   but  as  Defendant  points  out  the  evidence  of  pneumonia  came  from  autopsy  results.     If  Corley  was  sick  with  pneumonia  (which  could  have  occurred  due  to  time  spent  in   the  water  after  the  accident),  he  did  not  know  it.   4  While  he  was  attempting  to  pass  a  water  submersion  test  that  would  allow   him  to  work  on  offshore  oil  rigs,  Corley’s  blood  pressure  sky-­‐rocketed  and  911  was   called.     3   Mobile  Bay  at  a  rig  known  as  The  Ox.    Boyer,  who  had  no  experience  boating   offshore,  decided  to  take  the  boat  out  into  the  Gulf.    As  they  passed  Sand  Island,   south  of  Dauphin  Island,  the  seas  became  choppy.         Next  they  tied  up  to  a  rig  three  to  five  miles  offshore  where  they  fished  for   about  30  minutes.  When  Boyer  went  into  the  cabin  and  saw  that  the  boat  was  taking   on  water,  the  three  decided  to  head  back.5    They  untied  the  boat  and  managed  to  get   the  engine  started,  but  then  it  stalled  and  was  almost  immediately  hit  by  a  large   wave.    In  less  than  a  minute,  the  boat  was  sunk.    All  three  survived  initially  but  were   thrown  into  the  water.    Corley  was  separated  from  the  other  two.    His  body  was   found  the  next  day.    After  surviving  the  night,  Boyer  drowned.    Shenesy  was  rescued   by  a  Good  Samaritan.    The  Coast  Guard  conducted  an  investigation  and  concluded   that  “during  the  installation  of  a  new  fuel  tank,  the  subfloor  was  cut,  at  which  point   the  vessel  lost  watertight  integrity,  which  inevitably  led  to  the  vessel  sinking.”   (Coast  Guard  Rept.,  Pl.’s  Ex.  E.)     As  a  result  of  these  events,  Linda  Corley,  individually  and  as  representative  of   the  estate  of  Darryl  Corley,  filed  suit  against  Boltech  in  the  Circuit  Court  of  Mobile   County.    Boltech  removed  the  action  to  this  Court  based  on  diversity  jurisdiction.6     The  Complaint  alleges  causes  of  action  under  General  Maritime  Law  because  “Boyer   was  acting  as  an  agent  or  respondeat  for  his  employer,  Boltech  Mannings,  Inc.”       (Count  One)  and  because  “[a]t  all  relevant  times,  the  vessel  in  question  was  under   the  exclusive  control  of  Boltech  Mannings,  Inc.,  by  and  through  its  agent/supervisor,                                                                                                                   5  The  boat  had  no  radio  and  no  emergency  beacon.   6  The  notice  of  removal  establishes  that  Plaintiff  is  a  citizen  of  Alabama,   Boltech  is  a  citizen  of  Pennsylvania,  and  that  the  amount  in  controversy  greater  than   $75,000.     4   Boyer”  Count  Two).    In  addition,  the  Complaint  asserts  a  claim  under  the  Savings  to   Suitors  Clause,  28  U.S.C.  §  1331(1)  (Count  Three),  a  claim  for  negligence  under   General  Maritime  Law  (Count  Four),  and  a  claim  under  the  Death  on  the  High  Seas   Act,  46  U.S..  §  303,  et  seq.  (Count  Five).    Each  count  “adopts  and  realleges”  the   preceding  paragraphs  and  counts.   Legal  Analysis     Jurisdiction     In  each  count  of  her  Complaint,  Plaintiff  “demands  judgment  .  .  .  under   General  Maritime  Law.”  Because  general  maritime  law  does  not  provide  an   independent  basis  for  federal  jurisdiction,  Romero  v.  Int’l  Terminal  Operating  Co.  ,  35   U.S.  354,  368  (1959),  Defendant  has  invoked  this  Court’s  removal  jurisdiction   pursuant  to  28  U.S.C.  §§  1332  and  1441  based  on  diversity  of  citizenship.     Jurisdiction  is  proper  in  this  case  because  there  is  complete  diversity  between  the   parties  and  the  amount  in  controversy  exceeds  the  $75,000  jurisdictional  minimum.     See  28  U.S.C.  §  1332(a)(1)  (district  courts  have  original  jurisdiction  where  amount   in  controversy  “exceeds  .  .  .  $75,000,  exclusive  of  interest  and  costs,  and  is  between  .   .  citizens  of  different  States”).     Summary  Judgment  Standard     Summary  judgment  should  be  granted  only  if  "there  is  no  issue  as  to  any   material  fact  and  the  moving  party  is  entitled  to  a  judgment  as  a  matter  of  law."       Fed.  R.  Civ.  P.  56(c).    The  party  seeking  summary  judgment  bears  "the  initial  burden   to  show  the  district  court,  by  reference  to  materials  on  file,  that  there  are  no  genuine   issues  of  material  fact  that  should  be  decided  at  trial."    Clark  v.  Coats  &  Clark,  Inc.,     5   929  F.2d  604,  608  (11th  Cir.  1991).    Once  the  moving  party  has  satisfied  his   responsibility,  the  burden  shifts  to  the  nonmoving  party  to  show  the  existence  of  a   genuine  issue  of  material  fact.    Id.    "If  the  nonmoving  party  fails  to  make  'a  sufficient   showing  on  an  essential  element  of  her  case  with  respect  to  which  she  has  the   burden  of  proof,'  the  moving  party  is  entitled  to  summary  judgment."    United  States   v.  Four  Parcels  of  Real  Property,  941  F.2d  1428,  1437  (11th  Cir.  1991)  (quoting   Celotex  Corp.  v.  Catrett,  477  U.S.  317  (1986))  (footnote  omitted).           "In  reviewing  whether  the  nonmoving  party  has  met  its  burden,  the  court   must  stop  short  of  weighing  the  evidence  and  making  credibility  determinations  of   the  truth  of  the  matter.    Instead,  the  evidence  of  the  non-­‐movant  is  to  be  believed,   and  all  justifiable  inferences  are  to  be  drawn  in  his  favor.”    Tipton  v.  Bergrohr  GMBH-­‐ Siegen,  965  F.2d  994,  999  (11th  Cir.  1992)  (internal  citations  and  quotations   omitted).    “However,  we  draw  these  inferences  only  “’to  the  extent  supportable  by   the  record.’”  Penley  v.  Eslinger,  605  F.3d  843,  848    (11th  Cir.  2010)  (quoting  Scott  v.   Harris,  550  U.S.  372,  381  n.  8  (2007)  (emphasis  omitted)).      Furthermore,  “[a]   dispute  over  a  fact  will  only  preclude  summary  judgment  if  the  dispute  “might  affect   the  outcome  of  the  suit  under  the  governing  law.”  Id.  (quoting  Anderson  v.  Liberty   Lobby,  Inc.,  477  U.S.  242,  248,  (1986)).     Issues  Presented     All  of  Plaintiff’s  claims  hinge  on  a  theory  of  vicarious  liability.    Plaintiff   asserts  that  Boltech  is  liable  for  Darryl  Corley’s  death  because  Kenneth  Boyer  was,   at  all  relevant  times,  “acting  as  agent    or  respondeat  for  his  employer  [Boltech].”     Boltech  has  moved  for  summary  judgment,  pointing  out  Plaintiff’s  inability  to  satisfy     6   the  requirements  for  agency  under  Alabama  law.    In  response,  Plaintiff  argues  that   Alabama  law  does  not  apply  because  she  is  proceeding  under  general  maritime  law7   and  the  Death  on  High  Seas  Act  (DOSHA),  46  U.S.C.  §  303.  Plaintiff  points  to  evidence   that,  she  contends,  raises  a  genuine  issue  of  material  fact  under  federal  agency   principles.    No  matter  which  agency  law  applies,  Plaintiff  has  failed  to  adduce  facts   from  which  a  factfinder  could  conclude  that  Boyer  was  acting  as  Boltech’s  agent   during  the  events  that  resulted  in  Corley’s  death.     Alabama  Law     The  principle  of  respondeat  superior  allows  a  party  injured  in  tort  to  recover   from  the  tortfeasor’s  employer  if  “the  act  complained  of  was  done,  either  by  agent  or   servant,  while  acting  within  the  line  and  scope  of  employment.  .  .,  even  though  [the   employer]  did  not  authorize  or  ratify  such  acts  or  even  expressly  forbade  them.”       Prior  v.  Brown  &  Root  US,  Inc.  674  So.2d  45,  48  (Ala.  1995)  (quoting  Autrey  v.  Blue   Cross  &  Blue  Shield  of  Alabama,  481  So.  2d  345,  347-­‐48  (Ala.  1985)).      “An  act  is   within  an  employee's  scope  of  employment  if  the  act  is  done  as  part  of  the  duties  the   employee  was  hired  to  perform  or  if  the  act  confers  a  benefit  on  his  employer.”     Hulbert  v.  State  Farm  Mut.  Auto.  Ins.  Co.,  723  So.  2d  22,  23  (Ala.  1998).    Likewise,  it  is   within  the  scope  of  employment  if  it  is  done  in  furtherance  of  his  employment.    Id.                                                                                                                     7  Plaintiff’s  Complaint  is  somewhat  confusing  in  this  regard.    Count  Three   sets  out  a  claim  under  the  saving-­‐to-­‐suitors  clause,  28  U.S.C.  §  1331(1)  and  seeks   relief  under  General  Maritime  law.    This  would  appear  to  be  contradictory.    The   saving-­‐to-­‐suitor  clause,  which  was  part  of  the  Judiciary  Act  of  1789,  preserves  the   right  of  a  plaintiff  who  possesses  an  in  personam  maritime  claim  to  elect,  instead,  to   bring  his  claim  as  a  state  common  law  action.    Powell  v.  Offshore  Nav.,  Inc.  644  F.2d   1063,  1066  (5th  Cir.  Unit  A  1981).    Consequently,  a  saving-­‐to-­‐suitors  claim  is  a  one   that  does  not  seek  relief  under  general  maritime  or  admiralty  claim.         7   Conduct  that  is  undertaken  for  purely  personal  motives  or  personal  gratification   does  not  fall  within  the  scope  of  employment.    Id.     Darryl  Corley  was  killed  on  a  weekend  fishing  trip.    Although  Boyer,  who   arranged  the  trip,  was  his  supervisor,  nothing  about  the  trip  was  job-­‐related.    It  did   not  occur  during  working  hours.    There  is  no  evidence  that  the  trip  was  related  to,   sanctioned  by,  or  for  the  benefit  of  Boltech.    Nor  is  there  any  evidence  that  it  was   part  of,  related  to,  or  furthered  Boyer’s  employment  in  any  way.8    In  fact,  Plaintiff   does  not  rely  on  principles  of  agency,  vicarious  liability,  or  respondeat  superior  law   at  all.    Instead,  Plaintiff  argues  that  “whether  or  not  Corley’s  death  occurred  in  the   line  and  scope  of  his  employment  must  be  analyzed  under  a  scenario  where  an   employee  is  injured  while  engaging  in  social  or  recreational  activities,  which  are   almost  always  governed  by  workers  compensation  law.”    (Pl.’s  Brf.  23.)      No  citation   is  provided  for  this  novel  assertion  that  workers  compensation  law  provides  the   framework  for  determining  an  employer’s  liability  for  the  tortious  conduct  of  its   employee.     Even  if  workers  compensation  law  were  applicable,  Plaintiff’s  claim  would   fail.    Plaintiff  cites  one  case,  Board  of  Managers  of  the  City  of  Birmingham  Ret.  and   Relief  Sys.  v.  Elliot,  532  So.2d  1019  (Ala.  Civ.  App.  1988),  which  held  that  a  fireman   was  entitled  to  workers  compensation  for  an  injury  incurred  while  playing                                                                                                                   8  The  only  connection  between  the  fishing  trip  and  Boltech,  other  than  the   fact  that  the  participants  were  employees,  was  Boyer’s  use  of  his  company-­‐owned   truck,  and  even  Plaintiff  does  not  argue  that  this  is  sufficient  .    Boyer  used  the  truck   to  carry  himself,  his  companions,  and  the  boat  to  the  launch  at  Dauphin  Island.     Boyer  also  purchased  fuel  for  the  truck  using  a  company  credit  card.    But  this   evidence  alone  does  not  create  a  reasonable  inference  that  Boyer  was  acting  within   the  scope  of  his  employment.       8   basketball  while  on  duty  at  the  fire  station.    Plaintiff  does  not  rely  on  any  holding  in   Elliot  but  merely  cites  it  for  the  court’s  reliance  on  a  section  of  a  treatise,  A.  Larson,   The  Law  of  Workmen’s  Compensation  §  22  (1985),  regarding  an  employer’s  liability   for  injuries  sustained  during  recreational  activities.  One  of  the  circumstances  in   which  liability  may  be  imposed  is  “[w]hen  .  .  .  [t]he  employer,  by  expressly  or   impliedly  requiring  participation,  or  by  making  the  activity  part  of  the  services  of  an   employee,  brings  the  activity  within  the  orbit  of  the  employment.”  Id.  (emphasis   added).  ,”  Plaintiff  argues  that  Boltech  (the  employer)  is  liable  because  Boyer  (a   Boltech  employee)  “expressly  or  impliedly[  ]  compelled  Corley  to  go  fishing.”    (Pl.’s   Br.  23.)      The  fallacy  in  this  argument  is  that  it  still  requires  proof  that  the  Boyer  was   acting  on  behalf  of  Boltech.    Thus,  the  argument  comes  full  circle,  and,  ironically,   Plaintiff’s  alternative  theory  of  vicarious  liability  requires  proof  of  vicarious  liability.         Maritime  Law/Federal  Common  Law     Plaintiff  argues  that  Boltech  is  liable  under  federal  common  law  even  if  Boyer   was  acting  outside  the  scope  of  his  employer.    As  Plaintiff  points  out,  “[f]ederal   maritime  law  embraces  the  principles  of  agency.”    Naviera  Neptuno  S.A.  v.  All  Int’l   Freight  Forwarders,  Inc.,  709  F.2d  663,  665  (11th  Cir.  1983).    Federal  courts  have   looked  to  the  Restatement  (Second)  of  Agency  to  help  define  the  contours  of  agency   under  federal  common  law.    See,  e.g.,  Kolstad  v.  Am.  Dental  Assoc.,  527  U.S.  526,  542   (1999).    To  support  her  claim  that  Boyer  was  acting  as  Boltech’s  agent,  Plaintiff   relies  on  the  Restatement  (Second)  of  Agency  §  219(2)  (1958),  which  states:   (2)  A  master  is  not  subject  to  liability  for  the  torts  of  his  servants   acting  outside  the  scope  of  their  employment,  unless:   (a)  the  master  intended  the  conduct  or  the  consequences,  or   (b)  the  master  was  negligent  or  reckless,  or     9   (c)  the  conduct  violated  a  non-­‐delegable  duty  of  the  master,  or   (d)  the  servant  purported  to  act  or  to  speak  on  behalf  of  the   principal  and  there  was  reliance  upon  apparent  authority,  or  he   was  aided  in  accomplishing  the  tort  by  the  existence  of  the  agency   relation.       Pointing  to  the  highlighted  portion  of  subsection  (2)(d),  Plaintiff  argues  that   Boltech  is  vicariously  liable,  even  though  he  was  acting  outside  the  scope  of   his  employment,  because  “Boyer  used  his  authority  as  plant  manager  to   compel  [Corley]  to  go  fishing  against  his  will  which  led  to  his  death.    (Pl.’s  Br.   19.)         For  several  reasons,  the  Court  finds  that  §  219(2)(d)  does  not  apply.         First,  in  its  most  recent  version,  the  Restatement  (Third)  of  Agency  (2006)   specifically  abandoned  the  “aided  in  accomplishing”  theory  expressed  in  §   219(2)(d)  of  the  Restatement  (Second).   This  Restatement  does  not  include  “aided  in  accomplishing”  as  a   distinct  basis  for  an  employer’s  (or  principal’s)  vicarious  liability.    The   purposes  likely  intended  to  be  met  by  the  “aided  in  accomplishing”   basis  are  satisfied  by  a  more  fully  elaborated  treatment  of  apparent   authority  and  by  the  duty  of  reasonable  care  that  a  principal  owes  to   third  parties  with  whom  it  interacts  through  employees  and  other   agents.         Restatement  (Third)  of  Agency  §  7.08  cmt  b.9    In  fact,  the  authors  declined  to   address  “an  employer’s  vicarious  liability  for  an  employee’s  tortious  conduct  against                                                                                                                   9  The  current  version  focuses  instead  on  the  concept  of  “apparent  authority.”     “A  principal  is  subject  to  vicarious  liability  for  a  tort  committed  by  an  agent  in   dealing  or  communicating  with  a  third  party  on  or  purported  on  behalf  of  the   principal  when  actions  taken  by  the  agent  with  apparent  authority  constitute  the   tort.  .  .”    Id.  §  7.08.    “Apparent  authority  is  the  power  held  by  an  agent  or  other  actor   to  affect  a  principal's  legal  relations  with  third  parties  when  a  third  party  reasonably   believes  the  actor  has  authority  to  act  on  behalf  of  the  principal  and  that  belief  is   traceable  to  the  principal's  manifestations.”  Id.  §  2.03.    Plaintiff,  of  course,  does  not     10   a  fellow  employee,”  leaving  that  task  to  the  Restatement  (Third)  of  Employment   Law,  which  was  in  preparation  at  the  time  the  Restatement  (Third)  of  Agency  was   published.10  Id.  §  7.08,  cmt.  a.         Second,  there  must  be  some  limitation  to  the  “aided  in  accomplishing”   theory;  otherwise  the  rule  that  the  principle  is  not  liable  for  torts  committed  outside   the  scope  of  employment  is  swallowed  by  the  exception.    As  the  notes  accompanying   the  most  recent  draft  of  the  Restatement  (Third)  of  Employment  Law  point  out,  the   “aided  in  accomplishing”  theory  renders  the  distinction  between  acts  done  in  the   scope  of  employment  (for  which  the  employer  is  always  liable)  and  acts  done   outside  the  scope  of  employment  (for  which  the  employer  is  not  liable  except  in   limited  situations)  essentially  meaningless.    Restatement  (Third)  of  Agency,  §  4.03   Reptr.’s  Notes  (Tentative  Draft  No.  6,  March  30,  2013).    “[A]lmost  all  torts  resulting   from  the  employment  relationship  are  ‘aided’  by  the  existence  of  that  relationship,   regardless  of  the  tortfeasor's  independent  course  of  conduct  and  motivation  for   committing  the  torts.”    Id.    If  the  theory  still  applies,  it  applies  only  to  intentional   torts.  This  interpretation  is  supported  by  the  illustrations  provided  in  the   Restatement  (Second).    “Clause  (d)  includes  primarily  situations  in  which  the   principal’s  liability  is  based  upon  conduct  which  is  within  the  apparent  authority  of   a  servant,  as  where  one  purports  to  speak  for  his  employer  in  defaming  another  or   interfering  with  another’s  business.”    Restatement  (Second)  of  Agency  §  219  cmt.  e.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             rely  on  apparent  authority,  and  the  evidence  would  not  support  such  a  finding  if  he   did.      There  is  no  evidence  that  Boltech  did  anything  to  suggest  that  Boyer  had   authority  to  compel  Corley  to  go  fishing  on  his  time  off.   10  The  Restatement  (Third)  of  Employment  Law  has  not  yet  been  adopted.     11   Other  examples  include  “a  telegraph  operator  [who]  sends  false  messages”  or  “the   manager  of  a  store  [who]  is  enabled  to  cheat  a  customer  because  of  his  position.”    Id.           Third,  the  case  law  applying  §  219(2)(d)  has  no  application  here.    Plaintiff   relies  on  three  cases  to  support  her  theory  that  Boyer’s  position  as  supervisor   amounted  to  “misuse  of  delegated  authority”  sufficient  to  create  an  issue  of  fact   under  the  “aided  by  agency”  theory-­‐-­‐Burlington  Indus.,  Inc.  v.  Ellerth,  524  U.S.  742   (1998),  Walton  v.  Johnson  &  Johnson  Serv.,  Inc.,  347  F.3d  1272  (11th  Cir.  2003)  and   LaRouche  v.  Denny’s,  Inc.,  62  F.Supp.2d  1366  (S.D.  Fla.).    Walton    and  LaRouche  rely   extensively  on  Ellerth  and  its  companion  case,  Faragher  v.  City  of  Boca  Raton,  524   U.S.  775  (1998).    In  Faragher  and  Ellerth,  the  Supreme  Court  used  §  219(2)(d)  as  a   “starting  point”  for  determining  whether  an  employer  can  be  held  vicariously  liable   for  a  sexually  hostile  work  environment  created  by  its  employees.    It  did  not  intend   “to  make  a  pronouncement  of  agency  law  in  general  or  to  transplant  §  219(2)(d)   into  Title  VII.”    Faragher,  524  U.S.  at  803  n.  3.    Instead,  the  Court’s  aim  was  “to  adapt   agency  concepts  to  the  practical  objectives  of  Title  VII.”      Id.    The  Court  held  that  “an   employer  is  subject  to  vicarious  liability  to  a  victimized  employee  for  an  actionable   hostile  environment  created  by  a  supervisor  with  immediate  (or  successively   higher)  authority  over  the  employee.”    Faragher,  524  U.S.  at  807.    In  reaching  this   conclusion,  the  Court  recognized  that  “[s]ection  219(2)(d)    concerns  vicarious   liability  for  intentional  torts  committed  by  an  employee  when  the  employee  uses   apparent  authority  .  .  .  ,  or  when  the  employee  was  aided  in  accomplishing  the  tort   by  the  existence  of  the  agency  relationship.”    Ellerth,  524  U.S.  at  759  (emphasis   added).    Not  only  is  Faragher/Ellerth  limited  to  hostile  work  environment  cases,  its     12   principles  are  not  transferrable  to  this  case  because  the  holding  is  limited  to   intentional  torts.  11       Conclusion     For  the  reasons  set  forth  above,  the  Defendant’s  motion  for  summary   judgment  is  hereby  GRANTED.     DONE  this  the  28th  day  of  April,  2014.                                   s/Charles  R.  Butler,  Jr.       Senior  United  States  District  Judge                                                                                                                       11  Walton  was  a  hostile  work  environment/sexual  harassment  case,  similar   to  Faragher/Ellerth.    LaRouche  involved  claims  against  a  restaurant  for  intentional   discrimination  in  public  accommodations  based  on  its  manager’s  refusal  to  serve   the  plaintiffs  on  account  of  their  race.     13  

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?