« Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decided one Indiana case yesterday | Main | Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 0 opinion(s) today (and 2 NFP memorandum decision(s)) »

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Indiana Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today

In Stacy Knighten v. East Chicago Housing Authority, Individually and d/b/a West Calumet Complex, Davis Security Service, LLC, and Donnell Caldwell, an 8-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rucker writes:

While on duty a security guard shot and severely injured a person with whom he was romantically involved. The injured party filed a complaint against the security guard’s employer under the theory of respondeat superior. The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment. Concluding there are genuine issues of material fact precluding summary disposition, we reverse the trial court’s judgment. * * *

In the end, the scope and extent of Caldwell’s duties and responsibilities as an employee of Davis Security, and whether in discharging his weapon Caldwell engaged in conduct consistent with his duties and responsibilities, and thus whether this act was done “to an appreciable extent, to further his employer’s business[,]” Bushong v. Williamson, 790 N.E.2d 467, 473 (Ind. 2003) (quoting Celebration Fireworks, 727 N.E.2d at 453), are matters that cannot be resolved by summary disposition. In fact “[i]t is well established that whether an employee’s actions were within the scope of employment is a question of fact to be determined by the factfinder.” Walgreen Co. v. Hinchy, 21 N.E.3d 99, 107 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014) (citing Trinity Lutheran Church, Inc. v. Miller, 451 N.E.2d 1099, 1102 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983)).

Conclusion. We reverse that portion of the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Davis Security based on Knighten’s respondeat superior claim. This cause is remanded for further proceedings.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 8, 2015 10:56 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions