Superior Electrical (Superior) was in the business of installing electrical wiring and related components at new construction sites. Because some employees were assigned company vehicles equipped with company tools and materials and were expected to drive those vehicles to the work sites, Superior required all employment applicants to hold a valid driver’s license. Employees who were assigned a company vehicle were expected to drive for the company during the workday in order to transport job materials and company tools that were kept on the vehicle to job sites. These employees were expected to take the company issued vehicle home at the end of the work day.
Superior hired Cory Jones as an apprentice electrician. Jones had completed an employment application in which he stated that he had a valid driver’s license and had not been cited for any traffic violations. These statements were untrue. His license had been suspended because of numerous traffic violations, including careless driving and driving without a license. Superior did not check on his driving record at the time he was hired because, as an apprentice electrician, he was not being assigned a company vehicle and was not expected to drive for the company during the work day.
About a year after hiring Jones, Superior promoted him to electrician and assigned Jones a company vehicle equipped with a rack for transporting wiring and other materials to and from the work sites. Superior intended that Jones drive during the day for the company and to take the vehicle home after the end of the work day. On a later date, when Jones’s work hours had ended and he was driving home in the company vehicle, he collided with two cars. The collision resulted solely from Jones’s negligence. Carolyn Carson and her son were severely injured in the collision and they sued Superior. The Carson’s alleged two theories of recovery against Superior: respondeat superior and negligent hiring.
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