Sloan v. Thornhill Properties, Inc.

| February 5, 2016

Sloan v. Thornhill Properties, Inc.

Pertinent Facts for Assignment:

New client Adele Sloan met with partner Phillip Walker yesterday. In addition to handling family law matters, Phillip also handles civil litigation. Ms. Sloan wants to sue Thornhill Properties, Inc., the owner of her apartment complex.

Ms. Sloan was raped in her apartment by a complex security guard, Lucas Pruitt, while he was on duty. Lucas Pruitt was hired by Scott Cantrell, owner of Thornhill Properties, Inc. two years ago after interviewing him and conducting a background check. In doing the background check, Mr. Cantrell checked Lucas Pruitt’s references and found that he had worked at two other apartment complexes. Additionally, he discovered that Lucas Pruitt had been arrested and convicted of assault and battery for his part in a barroom altercation that left two people severely beaten fifteen years earlier. However, Mr. Cantrell also learned that Lucas Pruitt, at the time of the background check, had maintained a clean record for the past ten years.

According to his job description as a security guard, Lucas Pruitt would have a master key to all the apartments in the complex. His weekly schedule was determined by Thornhill Properties, Inc. He typically worked the evening shift from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. He was paid a salary, receiving paychecks twice per month. He was responsible for purchasing his uniform. He was one of six security guards hired by Thornhill Properties, Inc.

Three months after hiring Mr. Pruitt, Scott Cantrell received a report from another tenant, Charlene Delaney, that she saw someone dressed in a security guard uniform peeping into her window one evening. After receiving the report, Mr. Cantrell did not question or investigate Lucas Pruitt or any of the other security guards about the incident and there was no follow up.

On the 20th of this past October, Adele Sloan invited Lucas Pruitt to her apartment for a drink while he was on duty. During the visit, he raped Adele. He entered into a plea bargain with the prosecutor and during his interrogation he admitted to raping at least five other women over the past five years but none of the women had ever reported these rapes.

Adele Sloan would like to file a cause of action against Thornhill Properties, Inc. on the grounds of negligent hiring and negligent retention.

Phillip has asked you to conduct legal research and provide him with an intra-office legal memorandum that addresses the following issues:

1. Whether a master/servant relationship existed between Thornhill Properties, Inc. and Lucas Pruitt.
2. Whether the crime was committed during the course and scope of Lucas Pruitt’s employment.
3. Whether Thornhill Properties, Inc. is liable for the negligent hiring of Lucas Pruitt.
4. Whether Thornhill Properties, Inc. is liable for the negligent retention of Lucas Pruitt.

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