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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Can't Hold a Company Liable for the Acts of Its Employees If You Don't Prove They Are Its Employees

There's more information about trials and appeals available on the internet than was ever available in pre-web days. Still, observers wonder about the stories behind appeals. Case in point: Service Corporation International v. Guerra, 348 S.W.3d 221 (Tex. 2011). Now the main point in this case is that the employees of a cemetery company misbehaved, and the cemetery company was owned, in turn, indirectly, by a holding company. The plaintiffs sued the cemetery company and the holding company. Texas Supremes held that there was no evidence-- or at least not more than a scintilla of evidence-- that any of the natural person bad actors were employees of the holding company, and disallowed recovery against the holding company.
And this is what I wonder-- why didn't the trial lawyers prove that the natural person tortfeasors were employed by the holding company? Did they neglect to? Was it that they couldn't accomplish it?
Why wasn't the cemetery company a sufficient defendant alone? What was the insurance coverage status of  the cemetery company? The holding company?  The Texas Supreme Court's opinions seems strong that the holding company's employer status wasn't proved.
Hat tip to Warren W. Harris and Yvonne Y. Ho of the Texas Bar Journal for a head's up about this case.

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