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Timothy Mullin Secures Summary Judgement and Appellate Victory in Negligent Hiring Case

December 17, 2015

Timothy P. Mullin obtained the dismissal of claims against a national retail pharmaceutical company and a courier company after a driver pointed a gun at the plaintiff in a road rage incident.
 
The retail pharmaceutical company entered into a services agreement with a courier company to deliver medication and other store items to customers.  The courier company, through a third party, retained an independent contract driver to accomplish the deliveries. Plaintiff became involved with the delivery driver in a road rage incident.  The driver pointed a gun at the plaintiff.  Plaintiff alleged various physical and psychological injuries.
 
Discovery revealed that the driver had been convicted of a felony drug offense 7 years prior to the incident and was not permitted to be carrying the firearm as part of his previously negotiated plea agreement.  The drug offense occurred approximately 5 years before the driver’s relationship with the courier company began.
 
Plaintiff brought suit against the retail pharmaceutical company and the courier company alleging negligence by way of vicarious liability, negligent hiring and negligent supervision.  Mr. Mullin filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of both the retail pharmaceutical company and the courier company arguing that the driver was an independent contractor.  The court agreed that the driver was an independent contractor and thus, the retail pharmaceutical company and the courier company could not be held vicariously liable.  Mr. Mullin also argued that the retail pharmaceutical company and the courier company could not be held liable for negligent hiring because, even though the driver had prior conviction for controlled substances, there was nothing in his criminal records that would have made it possible for the retail pharmaceutical company or the courier company to foresee his act of road rage.  The court agreed and dismissed all of plaintiff’s claims by way of summary judgment.
 
Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision to the Appellate Division.  The Appellate Division upheld the summary judgment and agreed with Mr. Mullin’s arguments. 
 

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