In some situations, an employer may be liable for a personal injury caused by one of its employees within the scope of their employment. This type of negligence suit is based on a theory of vicarious liability. In a March 3, 2021 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reviewed a case involving an alleged battery that occurred at a bar. The plaintiff claimed that the owner of the bar was liable for her injuries, which she alleged were inflicted by one of its employees. The matter came before the court on an appeal filed by the plaintiff following a jury verdict in favor of the defendant.
The plaintiff in the case was attending a New Year’s Eve party with some friends at a bar operated by the defendant. She had been a customer of the bar for several years and knew many of the employees. One of the people she recognized as an employee approached her and grabbed her arm, causing her to fall to the ground. The plaintiff suffered ankle injuries as a result of the fall.
The plaintiff sued the bar for her injuries, alleging that the person who grabbed her was an employee, agent, or servant of the bar and was acting within the scope and during the course of his employment. The defendant, however, claimed that it had fired the person identified by the plaintiff approximately seven months before the incident. After a three-day trial, the jury determined that the person was an employee of the bar on the date in question, but that his actions were not within the scope of his employment. The jury ultimately found the defendant not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that it was an error for the trial court to submit the scope of employment issue to the jury. However, because the plaintiff did not object to the jury instructions at any time during the trial, the court found that the issue was not preserved for appeal. The appeals court also declined to exercise its discretion to review the unpreserved issue.
The plaintiff also argued that the circuit court erred by denying her motion for a new trial based on sufficiency of evidence. The appeals court explained that because the plaintiff had raised the issue of sufficiency of evidence for the first time in her motion for a new trial, and had not raised her objection at any time during the trial, the trial court had not abused its discretion. Further, the appeals court concluded that the plaintiff was precluded from raising her contention on appeal. The court went on to affirm the jury verdict in favor of the defendant.
If you need answers regarding your legal options after an accident, the personal injury attorneys at Foran & Foran, P.A. can assist you. We represent victims of negligence and their families in auto collision cases, premises liability actions, medical malpractice claims, and other injury lawsuits. Schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated lawyers by calling (301) 441-2022 or contacting Foran & Foran online.