On May 30, 2023 Associate Attorney Deborah Nogueira-Yates won a Summary Judgment on behalf of her client, a restaurant operator in Houston  County.

This case arose out of a incident that occurred in a restaurant.  The Plaintiff alleged he was injured when two employees of the restaurant were involved in a fight or altercation with each other and collided with the Plaintiff causing injuries to his back and knee.  Plaintiff alleged the Defendant restaurant was negligent in keeping its premises safe, vicariously liable for the actions of its employees and separately for negligent hiring and retention of the employees involved in the altercation.   He did not sue the employees involved in the altercation.

In her Motion for Summary Judgment, Ms. Yates argued the restaurant was entitled to summary judgment as to all claims.  First, as to ordinary premises negligence, there was no static or unsafe condition that existed leading to the plaintiff’s injuries.  Second, as to vicarious liability, Ms. Yates argued that once the physical altercation was initiated, both employees abandoned the performance of their respective jobs and engaged in the altercation which was not within the course and scope of their employment.  As to the final claim of  negligent hiring and retention, neither employee had any prior disciplinary history nor did management have any reason to believe such actions were a possible or likely occurrence.

The Court entered an Order granting summary judgment finding that the Plaintiff’s claims as pled mix theories of premises liability and ordinary negligence.  The Court found there was no evidence that the premises itself was unsafe.  The Court further found that the intervening intentional criminal conduct of the employees was outside the scope of their job duties and was the proximate cause of any injuries.  Because it was outside the scope of the employees job duties, the employer was not vicariously liable for the actions of the employees.  Finally as tot he issue of negligent hiring and retention, the Court found that the record clearly demonstrated that neither employee had any criminal record, history of disciplinary action or history of violence finding “zero evidence” of negligent hiring or retention.

Read more about Attorney Deborah Nogueira-Yates here.

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