Business Law – Respondeat Superior – Discussion by Marlene Mendoza

Business Law – Respondeat Superior

1. Respondeat Superior means an employer is responsible for the actions of a person that works for them as an employee and they do negligent acts or cause harm to others, costing the firm monetary or other damages. However, they must be done while the employee was under the employment of the employer. For example, the agent acting on behalf of the principle by representing his company during the course of employment (Miller & Jentz, 2007).

2. The factors that are considered in determining whether a particular act is subject to Respondeat Superior are: The agent must be representing the company while doing work for the third party. The principal owner must know what’s going on at the time of the action and affirm it. In addition, the principal owner must have authorized the transaction and have legal capacity. Affirmation must occur and observation of similar formalities. In other words, the identity must be known by the third party. Finally, the principal is obligated to perform in the contract on if he did it himself, when the agent did it on his behalf (Miller & Jentz, 2007).

3. In the scenario, the tort that is being used by the plaintiff is negligence stating the agent representing the owner by driving the owner’s truck was negligent when running over the third parties dog. Furthermore if the agent had no authority to take the truck of the owner and he did so anyway, the owner/principal should not be held liable, because he was not aware of the act. However, the agent can be held liable because he is the one that did damages to the third party’s dog (Miller & Jentz, 2007).

4. The defenses available to the defendant are the human agent did not act within the authority of the principal/owner. He took the truck without his permission. Furthermore, he has to have had the complete knowledge of everything going on, to all events. In other words, again the principal has to know exactly what’s going on plus have authorized him to take the truck out. Also, the agent himself may not be liable if he was uncertain about his authority at the time of the incident (Miller & Jentz, 2007).


Miller, R. L. & G. A. Jentz (2007). Agency and employment. Fundamentals of Business Law Summarized Cases. 7th Edition. Retrieved from Kaplan University Web Site on November 24, 2009.

Written by: Marlene Mendoza


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