Focus On

VICARIOUS LIABILITY - Liability of employer for acts of employee

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 @ 8:31 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by the plaintiff, Ivic, from dismissal of her action as against the defendant, United Taxi. The plaintiff attended a party. A friend arranged for a taxi after the plaintiff became intoxicated and felt unwell. The plaintiff alleged the taxi driver sexually assaulted her. The plaintiff sued the driver, the owner of the taxi and the taxi company. The plaintiff alleged the taxi company was vicariously liable for the driver's acts, was negligent, and breached the fiduciary duty it owed to her as a passenger. The order under appeal granted the taxi company summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff's claims as against it. The motion judge noted that the driver had no criminal record and the taxi company had no knowledge he might have a propensity for sexual or other violence. The plaintiff appealed the motion judge's findings on the issue of the taxi company's vicarious liability.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The motion judge did not err in the application of the Bazley test for imposition of vicarious liability. Application of the test did not support the conclusion that the taxi company significantly increased the risk of the plaintiff being sexually assaulted by permitting the driver to drive the taxi, and dispatching the driver to the plaintiff. The requisite strong connection between the risk created by the taxi company's enterprise and the alleged sexual assault was not present. As the motion judge concluded, the alleged sexual assault could be characterized as only coincidentally linked to the activities of the taxi company. It was not established that the imposition of vicarious liability would promote the broad justificatory policy rationales of fair compensation and deterrence.

T.I. v. Lakovic, [2017] O.J. No. 2855, Ontario Court of Appeal, A. Hoy A.C.J.O., R.A. Blair and C.W. Hourigan JJ.A. June 2, 2017. Digest No. TLD-June122017004