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Respondeat Superior Essay

1023 words - 5 pages

Respondeat Superior
MHA622 Health Care Ethics and Law
November 4, 2013

Respondeat Superior
Employers provide numerous benefits to their employees; however the employers are also ultimately responsible for their employee’s actions while in the workplace. This paper will consider the theories and circumstances surrounding the doctrine of respondeat superior and how the employers are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees. The doctrine will be defined and court cases discussed concerning how the doctrine was applied in each case. The cases will be analyzed concerning how the doctrine was applied and who benefited in each case.
The concept of the employer being held ...view middle of the document...

In this case the jury reached a controversial verdict based on the findings that the doctor himself was not liable, however the doctor’s medical group was liable on a theory of respondeat superior. This was followed by a post trial motion that requested the verdict be set aside due to the fact that there could be no respondeat superior liability without a finding that the medical group’s employee, the doctor, was negligent. The verdict was set aside and later appealed to the Supreme Court of Virginia who has granted certiorari, agreeing to review the findings (McNeill, 2012).
The doctrine of respondeat superior was challenged in this case. By its definition this doctrine is placing the responsibility on the employer for the employee’s actions; however, in this case the employee (defendant’s doctor) was not found negligent. The question was then raised on how the medical group could be found guilty if the doctor was not. The possibility of blame being placed on another employee other than the doctor was speculated due to the unsuccessful attempts to contact the patient was one possibility of the reasoning behind the ruling (McNeill, 2012).
The second case under discussion is the case of Jones v. Baisch (1994). This case involves a case of a young man diagnosed with genital herpes and the breach of confidentiality concerning his medical information. Two employees of the Region West Pediatric Services disclosed the patient’s diagnosis to family members and mutual friends of the patient. The patient upon learning of the breach contacted the doctor and an investigation pursued where the employee’s admitted their wrongdoings. The employees agreed to not make any more disclosures concerning this patient’s condition; however the employees continued discussing the matter. The patient in turn brought suit against the facility and the doctor alleging “(1) invasion of privacy arising out of the disclosure of confidential medical information, and (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of defendants' failure to settle with Jones. In addition, Jones alleged that defendants were liable on the basis of respondeat superior for breach...

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