Agency Law

Discussion: Respondent Superior


Agency law covers a wide array of circumstances where one party agrees to (contemporaneously or in the future) or by operation of law act(s) on behalf of another party.  The legal field is a prime example of such a relationship:  every client (principal) who hired me to represent them in a court of law, draft a contract, negotiate a settlement, etc. established an agency relationship with me; realtors and home buyers/sellers create agency relationships, head hunters conducting interviews on behalf of a business-employer are agents, as well.  Another significant example of the application of agency law is the employer-employee relationship.  Of particular interest in this relationship is the liability of the employer to 3rd parties for the acts or omissions of the employee.  The law establishes that an employer (principal) may be liable if the employee (agency) inflicts harm to a 3rd party under the doctrine of respondent superior.   The operative word is “may”.  The court must determine – if they are (or are not) to hold an employer liable – whether the employee acted within the scope of his/her of employment.  There are a number of factors the court uses to assist it in this endeavor (see pg. 431 of the text).  Part and parcel to this evaluation is whether the employee was on a detour or a frolic.

For this discussion we will use Business Scenario 19-2 found at the end of Chapter 19 of the text.  I have used this fact pattern in on campus courses settings wherein a lively debate occurs as to whether Arnez was within the scope of employment or not/whether he was on a detour or frolic.  Determining how one applies the various factors to the facts determines the liability of the employer, ABC Tire Corp.

Therefore, you are the judge once again.  Thomas is in your courtroom having sued ABC Tire Corp.  What is your conclusion – is ABC Tire Corp. liable for the injury Arnez caused to Thomas? Apply your legal reasoning in the IRAC format.  Compare/contrast with “Case in Point 19.22” and “19.23” in the text.

Rule: what rule(s) do you apply?

Application/Conclusion: legally analyze the rule(s) to the facts to reach your conclusion.

Regardless of your conclusion as to whether you determine ABC Tire Corp. is liable to Thomas or not, ABC Tire Corp. was put into a difficult position given Arnez’ actions.  As the employer what could you do to reduce your exposure to liability for an employee’s actions or omission?


Article Analysis Assignments

(200-300 words)

you will select an article from a business periodical which generally relates to this course and write a brief summary and analysis. When choosing articles for this weekly assignment, you should ask yourself “Would this article be interesting to a student in this course or to someone who is working as a business professional?”  This is an individual project.  Two points are deducted each day assignment is late.

Each article analysis assignment shall include four parts:

  1. Title of the article, date of publication, and author (note: The Economistdoes not provide author’s names on articles) of the article that you selected;
  2. A paragraph(s) summarizing the content and context of the selected article;
  • A paragraph (or more) of your reflections where you clearly and succinctly analyze the article, reflecting on its meaning as it relates to your coursework in this class and/or its usefulness for business professionals seeking to become legally-astute managers, entrepreneurs, government regulators, etc.  This analysis paragraph should include at least two references to the readings, resources, and/or discussions which are covered in the course; and,
  1. A link (URL) to the article

Recommended sources for your article:


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