Stipulating Vicarious Liability to Avoid Direct Negligence Claims: Why This Relic of the Past Should Be Abandoned in Louisiana

by Natalie R. Earles

Introduction

Imagine that Pierre is driving down the highway in his vehicle. A semi-trailer truck, driven by Étienne, crosses the centerline and crashes into Pierre. It is later discovered that Étienne was intoxicated at the time of the accident and had been fired from his previous truck-driving job for causing four accidents while under the influence. Pierre sues both Étienne and his employer, Big Trucks, Inc. He claims that Étienne was negligent in his operation of the truck and that Big Trucks, Inc. is vicariously liable. He also claims that Big Trucks, Inc. is independently negligent in its hiring, training, and supervising of Étienne and in its entrustment of the truck to Étienne. If the employer stipulates that Étienne was acting in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident, a Louisiana court is likely to dismiss Pierre’s independent negligence claims against Big Trucks, Inc.

This outcome is based on a centuries-old tort rule that this Piece dubs the “stipulation rule.” The rule provides that when an employer assumes vicarious liability for its employee’s negligence, the plaintiff may not pursue additional theories of liability against the employer.[1] The stipulation rule originated in Houlihan v. McCall, a 1951 decision of the Maryland Supreme Court.[2] In Houlihan, plaintiffs injured in an automobile accident sued both the truck driver involved and the driver’s employer for negligent hiring or retention.[3] The employer acknowledged an agency relationship with the truck driver.[4] At trial, the court admitted evidence of the employee’s driving record, and the jury found for the plaintiffs.[5] Maryland’s highest court reversed, reasoning that because the employer stipulated that the driver was its agent, it was “unnecessary to pursue the alternative theory” of negligence to hold the defendant liable.[6] The court concluded that the trial court erred by admitting the driver’s record because where agency is stipulated, the employee’s driving record served “no purpose except to inflame the jury.”[7]

Soon after Houlihan, a California court applied the same rationale to a negligent entrustment claim in Armenta v. Churchill.[8] Forty-one years later, the Missouri Supreme Court also endorsed the Houlihan rule in McHaffie v. Bunch, holding that it is inappropriate to permit a negligent hiring claim after an employer assumes liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior.[9] Today, the highest courts of several jurisdictions have adopted the McHaffie rule, including Colorado,[10] Connecticut,[11] Mississippi,[12] and Idaho.[13] Other jurisdictions, including Michigan,[14] Ohio,[15] Alabama,[16] Kansas,[17] South Carolina,[18] Virginia,[19] and recently Georgia,[20] hold the minority view that a defendant’s stipulation of vicarious liability does not eliminate a plaintiff’s negligent hiring, training, supervising, and entrustment claims. Significantly, the majority rule originated in an era of contributory negligence, and most states initially adopted the rule while under a contributory negligence regime.[21]

In 2016, a Louisiana court adopted the stipulation rule.[22] In Dennis v. Collins, a federal district court in Louisiana applied the rule to dismiss a plaintiff’s direct negligence claims against an employer that admitted vicarious liability.[23] Subsequently, most Louisiana courts addressing the issue relied on Dennis in adopting the stipulation rule.[24] This Piece argues that the rule set forth in Dennis v. Collins is problematic for two reasons. First, it advances a broad rule that offers little clarification as to its scope, which often lends itself to applications that are inconsistent with Louisiana tort principles. Second, although the stipulation rule is consistent with contributory negligence principles, its justification “loses much of its force” under a comparative fault regime.[25] Ultimately, the “stipulation rule” is a relic of the contributory negligence era that the Louisiana Supreme Court should abandon when the issue arises again.

I. Emergence of the Stipulation Rule in Louisiana

In 2016, the Chief Judge in the Western District of Louisiana applied the stipulation rule in Dennis v. Collins.[26] In Dennis, the plaintiff was injured when a Greyhound bus collided into his vehicle.[27] The plaintiff asserted a negligence claim against the driver and a negligent hiring, training, and supervision claim against the driver’s employer.[28] The employer filed a motion for summary judgment as to the negligent hiring, training, and supervision claim, arguing that the plaintiff could not pursue the independent negligence claim since the employer stipulated that the employee was in the course and scope of his employment when the accident occurred.[29] The court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s independent negligence claim against the employer.[30]

The Dennis court held that a plaintiff cannot simultaneously pursue a negligence claim against an employee and a direct negligent hiring, training, and supervision claim against the employer if the employer stipulates that the employee was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the subject accident.[31] The court expounded, however, that “a plaintiff may simultaneously maintain independent causes of action against both an employee and an employer for the same incident when . . . the plaintiff alleges both an intentional tort by the employee and negligent hiring, training, and/or supervision by the employer.”[32] Additionally, the court opined that a plaintiff may pursue claims against both an employee and an employer when “the plaintiff alleges both negligence by the employee and negligent hiring, training, and/or supervision by the employer, and the employer does not stipulate that the employee acted in the course and scope of employment.”[33]

The court’s reasoning can be reduced to two main points. First, the court explained that “while direct negligence is an independent negligence cause of action against the employer, vicarious liability is not a cause of action, but rather a method of holding one party liable for the conduct of another, of which respondeat superior is merely a species.”[34] Second, the court concluded that the cause-in-fact and legal cause elements of negligence cannot be satisfied in cases like Dennis.[35] Specifically, the court reasoned “that even a complete lack of training or supervision could not have been either a but-for or legal cause of the plaintiff’s injuries absent some negligence on the part of the employee on the day of the collision.”[36] Thus, the court found that “negligent training and supervision causes of action against the employer are subsumed within a negligence cause of action against the employee when there is no doubt that the employee committed the negligence, if any, within the course and scope of employment.”[37]

Following Dennis v. Collins, the three Louisiana courts of appeal that addressed the issue have also adopted the stipulation rule.[38] In Elee v. White, the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal cited Dennis for the proposition that a direct negligence claim against an employer “is essentially subsumed in the direct negligence claim against” its employee.[39] Faced with similar facts in Landry v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburg, the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal dismissed the plaintiffs’ negligent hiring, training, and supervision claim based on the employer’s stipulation that it was vicariously liable for the fault of its employee.[40] In reaching this conclusion, the court restated—nearly verbatim—the analysis set forth in Dennis.[41]

Since Dennis, most Louisiana courts addressing the issue follow the Western District’s lead and dismiss claims for negligent hiring, training, supervising, and entrustment when an employer admits vicarious liability.[42] Recently, however, another federal judge in the Western District of Louisiana departed from the majority view, even though his court previously endorsed the rule itself.[43] In Gordon v. Great West Casualty Co., the plaintiffs were injured in an automobile accident and alleged that both the employee’s negligent driving and the employer’s negligent failure to train or supervise him caused the accident.[44] The employer stipulated that the employee was acting in the course and scope of his employment when the accident occurred and subsequently requested the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ negligent training and supervising claim based on the Dennis rule.[45] Making its best Erie guess, the court concluded that the Louisiana Supreme Court would reject a blanket rule precluding direct negligence claims against an employer who is admittedly vicariously liable for the employee’s negligence.[46]

II. Making the Case for Abandoning the Stipulation Rule

Courts applying the stipulation rule primarily rely on two justifications. First, courts reason that allowing a plaintiff’s additional claims neither increases nor decreases the potential liability beyond that already stipulated. Second, they reason that the additional claims merely allege an alternative theory of recovery once vicarious liability has been stipulated; thus, the prejudicial evidence of an employee’s prior acts, which often accompanies direct negligence claims against employers, can be excluded without adversely affecting the plaintiff.

The rule set forth in Dennis v. Collins is problematic for three reasons. First, it advances a broad rule that offers little clarification as to its scope and under multiple factual circumstances, is simply inconsistent with Louisiana tort principles. Second, although the stipulation rule is consistent with contributory negligence principles, its justification loses force under a comparative fault regime. Finally, courts have sufficient means to cure any potentially prejudicial evidence without eliminating a plaintiff’s valid causes of action. Ultimately, the “stipulation rule” is a relic of the contributory negligence era, and the Louisiana Supreme Court should abandon it when the issue arises again.

A. Negligent Hiring, Training, Supervision, and Entrustment are Independent Causes of Action

First, Dennis v. Collins is a problematic decision because it tenders a broad rule under which a plaintiff cannot simultaneously pursue a negligence claim against an employee and a direct negligent hiring, training, and supervision claim against the employer if the employer stipulates that the employee was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the subject accident.[47] This blanket rule fails to consider “the independent and consistent nature of the separate theories” of vicarious liability and negligent hiring, training, and supervision.[48]

Louisiana law provides two codal bases for imposing legal responsibility on an employer in the context of master-servant lawsuits: (1) primary liability pursuant to Louisiana Civil Code article 2315 and (2) vicarious liability pursuant to Louisiana Civil Code article 2320.[49] Article 2315 broadly entitles an individual to recover damages sustained as a result of another’s fault.[50] Article 2320 establishes the vicarious liability of masters and employers for damage occasioned by their servants and employees during the course and scope of their employment.[51] In Roberts v. Benoit, the Louisiana Supreme Court officially recognized claims of negligent hiring, training, supervision, and entrustment as independent causes of action founded in Louisiana’s fault principles.[52] In doing so, the Court explained that vicarious liability, or the doctrine of respondeat superior, is based on the employee’s negligence that is imputed to the employer.[53] In contrast, an employer may be held independently liable for its negligence in hiring, training, or retaining the employee.[54] Importantly, “[t]hese two theories of liability are separate and independent.”[55]

While the result may be correct under the particular facts of Dennis, the court’s reasoning obscures the proper inquiry regarding treatment of simultaneous claims of employee negligence and independent claims of employer negligence. Considering the Supreme Court’s recognition of negligent hiring or entrustment claims as independent causes of action, the proposition that such claims are “derivative, vicarious, or imputed is simplistic.”[56] The argument made by courts applying the stipulation rule that such claims are superfluous because they are “subsumed” by the negligence underlying vicariously liability ignores an important reality. The reality is that although “the claim is contingent upon some injurious conduct on the part of the employee,”[57] the basis of fault under theories of negligent hiring and entrustment is the employer’s own negligent conduct—the breach of its “duty to exercise reasonable care in hiring, commissioning, and training” its employees.[58] Accordingly, it is improper to characterize all direct negligence claims against an employer as “superfluous” merely because vicarious liability for an employee’s negligence is stipulated.

B. Implications of Louisiana’s Comparative Fault Regime on the Stipulation Rule

Second, the Dennis court’s articulation of the stipulation rule is problematic because courts applying the rule fail to consider its continuing vitality against the backdrop of a comparative fault regime. The justification for the rule “loses much of its force” under a comparative negligence system.[59] In 1996, the Louisiana Legislature reformed Louisiana Civil Code article 2323 to create a pure comparative fault system.[60] Article 2323 provides, in pertinent part:

In any action for damages where a person suffers injury, death, or loss, the degree or percentage of fault of all persons causing or contributing to the injury, death, or loss shall be determined, regardless of whether the person is a party to the action or a nonparty[.] . . . The provisions . . . shall apply to any claim for recovery of damages for injury, death, or loss asserted under any law or legal doctrine or theory of liability, regardless of the basis of liability.[61]

As Judge Cain noted in Gordon, the Louisiana Supreme Court “has repeatedly affirmed that Article 2323(A) makes a determination of comparative fault mandatory among all potential tortfeasors, including non-parties and those who will never be held financially responsible, under any theory of liability.”[62] Indeed, “the fundamental purpose of Louisiana’s comparative fault scheme is to ensure that each tortfeasor is responsible only for the portion of the damage he has caused.”[63] In apportioning fault, the law demands that triers of fact consider the nature of the conduct of each party at fault and the extent of the causal relation between that conduct and the damages claimed.[64]

Based on the separate and independent nature of claims for negligent hiring, training, supervision, and entrustment, “a complete comparative fault analysis should therefore include consideration of the employer’s own negligence.”[65] Although there may be instances in which a plaintiff fails to allege sufficient facts to demonstrate an employer’s independent fault, warranting dismissal of such direct negligence claims against the employer, a rule such as the one explicated in Dennis, which disposes of such claims upon an employer’s stipulation, is simply contrary to Louisiana law. Any rule that deprives a plaintiff of pursuing “a cause of action that may result in the allocation of additional fault to a tortfeasor” is incompatible with comparative fault principles.[66]

Finally, courts applying the stipulation rule commonly assert that allocating fault in such a circumstance is unnecessary because whether the employer is directly negligent neither increases nor decreases the amount of recoverable damages.[67] Courts further assert that “dismissing direct negligence claims against an employer, who remains vicariously liable, does not subvert the plaintiff’s right to be fully compensated.”[68] However, this perspective disregards the fundamental purpose of Louisiana’s comparative fault scheme: “to ensure that each tortfeasor is responsible only for that portion of the damage he has caused.”[69] This view also ignores a core value of tort law—deterrence.[70] Indeed, “[d]eterrence is one of the complex purposes that is said to lie at the heart of all tort law, not merely that aspect labeled ‘punitive.’”[71] Yet, under a blanket application of the stipulation rule, an employer “is afforded the unique opportunity to choose under which claim it might be liable and can therefore avoid any responsibility for its independently negligent acts.”[72]

The Gordon court provided a particularly instructive explanation as to the significance of allocating fault to all responsible parties:

Where an employer’s potential fault is merged with that of the employee, the jury might not have a true picture of either party’s wrongful acts—which may, in turn, magnify the comparative fault of the plaintiff or other individuals. For instance, a plaintiff involved in a car accident may bring a claim of negligence against a defendant truck driver who failed to exercise adequate care while driving on icy roads. If the employer then stipulates to vicarious liability, the plaintiff cannot also maintain a claim based on the employer’s negligent training or supervision of the employee. Accordingly, evidence that the company failed to train employees on how to encounter that hazard or required them to push on with their loads despite the conditions could be ruled inadmissible—as other defendants have argued in multiple cases before this court. If admitted, the evidence could also tend to make the employee look less culpable. After all, is it really his fault that he was not properly trained or supervised? And the verdict sheet leaves no other place to account for the employer’s direct negligence. If the jury decides to go easier on the employee, other individuals—for instance, the plaintiff or drivers of other vehicles involved in the accident—necessarily become more culpable and the fundamental purpose of comparative fault is frustrated. Likewise, where the employer can exclude evidence or avoid any public airing of its direct negligence merely because it is also financially liable under a theory of vicarious liability, the deterrent aims of tort law are thwarted. In effect, under such a rule, the employer would serve as insurer for the employee rather than codefendant and need not even have its identity revealed to the jury.[73]

As the court illustrated, a broad, uncritical application of the stipulation rule, as endorsed by Dennis v. Collins and subsequent decisions, produces effects that are contrary to Louisiana tort values.

Conclusion

Dennis v. Collins is a problematic decision because it advances a broad rule that is incompatible with Louisiana’s fault-based tort regime. While the result may be correct under the particular facts of Dennis, the court’s reasoning obscured the proper inquiry regarding treatment of simultaneous claims of employee negligence and independent employer negligence as distinct from holding an employer vicariously liable. Although there may be instances in which dismissal of such claims are warranted, the court’s articulation endorses application of a blanket rule, regardless of context, when employers stipulate vicarious liability. The “stipulation rule” “no longer has a place in Louisiana tort law.”[74] The Louisiana Supreme Court should abandon this rule when the issue presents itself again.

[1] See Rivera v. Robinson, No. 18-14005, 2020 WL 5658899, at *3 (E.D. La. Sept. 23, 2020) (“When the employer has stipulated to vicarious liability for the employee’s negligent act, plaintiffs may not simultaneously maintain a cause of action for respondeat superior liability and for direct negligence (negligent entrustment) against an employee.”).

[2] Houlihan v. McCall, 78 A.2d 661, 664–65 (Md. 1951).

[3] Id. at 664.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id. at 665–66.

[7] Id.

[8] Armenta v. Churchill, 267 P.2d 303, 308–09 (Cal. 1954).

[9] McHaffie v. Bunch, 891 S.W.2d 822, 827 (Mo. 1995).

[10] Ferrer v. Okbamicael, 390 P.3d 836, 842 (Co. 2017).

[11] Prosser v. Richman, 50 A.2d 85 (Conn. 1946).

[12] Nehi Bottling Co. v. Jefferson, 84 So. 2d 684, 686 (Miss. 1956).

[13] Wise v. Fiberglass Sys., Inc., 718 P.2d 1178, 1181 (Idaho 1986). Lower courts in other jurisdictions that appear to take the majority approach include Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Wyoming, North Carolina, and Texas. See Clooney v. Geeting, 352 So. 2d 1216, 1220 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1977); Gant v. L.U. Trans. Inc., 770 N.E.2d 1155, 1160 (Ill. App. 2002); Ortiz v. N.M. State Police, 814 P.2d 17 (N.M. Ct. App. 1991); Beavis v. Campbell Cnty. Mem’l Hosp., 20 P.3d 508, 516–17 (Wyo. 2001); Heath v. Kirkman, 82 S.E.2d 104, 107 (N.C. 1954); Patterson v. E. Tex. Motor Freight Lines, 349 S.W.2d 634, 636 (Tex. Ct. App. 1961); Loom Craft Carpet Mills, Inc. v. Gorrell, 823 S.W.2d 431, 432 (Tex. Ct. App. 1992).

[14] Perin v. Peuler, 130 N.W.2d 4, 8 (Mich. 1964).

[15] Clark v. Stewart, 185 N.E. 71, 73 (Ohio 1933).

[16] Poplin v. Bestway Express, 286 F. Supp. 2d 1316 (M.D. Ala. 2003).

[17] Marquis v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 961 P.2d 1213, 1225 (Kan. 1998).

[18] James v. Kelly Trucking Co., 661 S.E.2d 329, 332 (S.C. 2008).

[19] Fairshter v. Am. Nat’l Red Cross, 322 F. Supp. 2d 646, 654 (E.D. Va. 2004).

[20] Zaldivar v. Prickett, 774 S.E.2d 688 (Ga. 2015).

[21] See J.J. Burns, Respondeat Superior as an Affirmative Defense: How Employers Immunize Themselves from Direct Negligence Claims, 109 Mich. L. Rev. 657, 661–62 (2011). “Contributory negligence” is an affirmative defense based on the plaintiff’s own negligent conduct which contributed to the injury of which the plaintiff complains. 12 La. Civ. L. Treatise, Tort Law § 7.2 (2d ed. 2020).

[22] See Dennis v. Collins, No. 15-2410, 2016 WL 6637973, at *7 (W.D. La. Nov. 9, 2016).

[23] Id.

[24] See, e.g., Wilcox v. Harco Int’l Ins., No. 16-187, 2017 WL 2772088, at *3 (M.D. La. June 26, 2017) (dismissing claim based on Dennis and stating that plaintiff failed to show why the same result was not mandated in the present case); Rivera v. Robinson, No. 18-14005, 2020 WL 5658899, at *3 (E.D. La. Sept. 23, 2020) (“When the employer has stipulated to vicarious liability for the employee’s negligent act, plaintiffs may not simultaneously maintain a cause of action for respondeat superior liability and for direct negligence (negligent entrustment) against an employee.”); Marcello v. Holland, No. 19-14609, 2020 WL 5960684 (E.D. La. Oct. 8, 2020) (“Because Plaintiff has asserted negligence claims against . . . the employee, as well as direct negligence and vicarious liability claims against . . . the employer, and [the employer] has admitted that [the employee] ‘was acting in the course and scope of his employment with’ . . . Plaintiff’s direct negligence claims against [the employer] must be dismissed.”); Meadors v. D’Agostino, No. 18-01007, 2020 WL 1529367, at *3 (M.D. La. Mar. 30, 2020) (“When an employer stipulates to course and scope, the plaintiff cannot also maintain a direct negligence claim against the employer.”); Pigott v. Heath, No. 18-9438, 2020 WL 564958, at *3 (E.D. La. Feb. 5, 2020); Zinamon v. STR Transp., Inc., No. 19-656, 2021 WL 725801 (M.D. La. Feb. 21, 2021).

[25] Lorio v. Cartwright, 768 F. Supp. 658, 660 (N.D. Ill. 1991).

[26] Dennis, 2016 WL 6637973, at *7.

[27] Id.

[28] Id.

[29] Id.

[30] Id.

[31] Id. at *2.

[32] Id. at *7.

[33] Id.

[34] Id. at *5.

[35] Id. at *7–8.

[36] Id.

[37] Id. at *6.

[38] See Elee v. White, No. 2019-CW-1633, 2020 WL 4251974, at *5 (La. Ct. App. 1st Cir. July 24, 2020); Landry v. Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburg, 289 So. 3d 177 (La. Ct. App. 5th Cir. 2019); Perro v. Alvardo, 304 So. 3d 997 (La. Ct. App. 3d Cir. 2020).

[39] Elee, 2020 WL 4251974, at *5.

[40] Landry, 289 So. 3d at 186.

[41] Id. at 185–86. The Dennis Court explained:

If the trier of fact finds that [the employee] was negligent and that his negligence was a cause-in-fact and legal cause of [the plaintiff]’s injuries, then [the employer] is liable for [the employee]’s actions. If he was not negligent, then no amount of negligence on the part of [the employer] in training and supervising him could have been the cause-in-fact or legal cause of the collision and [the plaintiff]’s injuries. In other words, if the trier of fact does not find that [the employee] (exercising his training and under the supervision of [the employer] on the day of the collision) was negligent on the day of the collision, the trier of fact could not reasonably find that but-for [the employer]’s failure to properly train and supervise [the employee], the injuries to [the plaintiff] would not have occurred. Nor could the trier of fact reasonably find that [the employer]’s failure to properly train and supervise [the employee] was a legal cause of [the plaintiff]’s injuries if [the employee] was not negligent.

Dennis, 2016 WL 6637973, at *7–8. Almost identically, the Landry court stated:

[I]f the trier of fact finds that [the employee] was negligent and that his negligence was a cause-in-fact and legal cause of plaintiffs’ injuries, then [the employer] is liable for [the employee]’s actions. If [the employee] was not negligent, then no amount of negligence on the part of [the employer] in training and supervising him could have been the cause-in-fact or legal cause of the collision and plaintiff’s injuries. In other words, if the trier of fact does not find that [the employee] (exercising his training and under the supervision of [the employer]) was negligent on the day of the collision, the trier of fact could not reasonably find that but for [the employer]’s failure to properly train and supervise [the employee], the injuries to plaintiff would not have occurred. Nor could the trier of fact reasonably find that [the employer]’s failure to properly train and supervise [the employee] was a legal cause of plaintiff’s injuries if [the employee] was not negligent.

Landry, 289 So. 3d at 185–86.

[42] See cases cited supra note 24.

[43] See Gordon v. Great W. Cas. Co., No. 18-CV-00967, 2020 WL 3472634, at *4–5 (W.D. La. June 25, 2020); Roe v. Safety Nat’l Cas. Corp., No. 18-CV-01353, 2020 WL 3477071, at *4–5 (E.D. La. June 25, 2020).

[44] Gordon, 2020 WL 3472634, at *4–5.

[45] Id.

[46] Id. In Erie R.R. Co. v. Thompkins, the United States Supreme Court announced that in diversity cases, federal courts are to apply state substantive law. 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938). In the absence of a final decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court, federal courts must apply Louisiana’s civilian methodology to “make an Erie guess and determine, in [their] best judgment, how that court would resolve the issue if presented with the same case.” In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 206 (5th Cir. 2007).

[47] Dennis v. Collins, No. 15-2410, 2016 WL 6637973, at *2 (W.D. La. Nov. 9, 2016).

[48] Brent Powell, Submitting Theories of Respondeat Superior and Negligent Entrustment/Hiring, 61 Mo. L. Rev. 155, 166 (1996).

[49] See Roberts v. Benoit, 605 So. 2d 1032, 1036 (La. 1991).

[50] La. Civ. Code art. 2315.

[51] La. Civ. Code art. 2320.

[52] Roberts, 605 So. 2d at 1044.

[53] Id. at 1037.

[54] Id.

[55] Id.

[56] Burns, supra note 21, at 665–66.

[57] Id.

[58] Roberts v. Benoit, 605 So. 2d 1032, 1040 (La. 1991).

[59] Lorio v. Cartwright, 768 F. Supp. 658, 660 (N.D. Ill. 1991).

[60] See 1996 La. Acts, 1st Ex. Sess. No. 3, § 1, eff. Apr. 16, 1996.

[61] La. Civ. Code art. 2320.

[62] Gordon v. Great W. Cas. Co., No. 18-CV-00967, 2020 WL 3472634, at *3 (W.D. La. June 25, 2020) (citing Thompson v. Winn-Dixie Montgomery, Inc., 181 So. 3d 656, 664 (La. 2015); Big Easy Tattoo & Co., Inc. v. Quarter Holdings, LLC, 254 So. 3d 678 (La. 2018); Keith v. U.S. Fid. & Guar. Co., 694 So. 2d 180 (La. 1997)).

[63] Thompson, 181 So. 3d at 664.

[64] Watson v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Ins. Co., 469 So. 2d 967, 974 (La. 1985).

[65] Burns, supra note 21, at 668.

[66] Id.

[67] Richard A. Mincer, The Viability of Direct Negligence Claims Against Motor Carriers in the Face of an Admission of Respondeat Superior, 10 Wyo. L. Rev. 229, 235 (2010).

[68] Meadors v. D’Agostino, No. 18-01007, 2020 WL 1529367 (M.D. La. Mar. 30, 2020).

[69] Thompson v. Winn-Dixie Montgomery, Inc., 181 So. 3d 656, 664 (La. 2015).

[70] See Gordon v. Great W. Cas. Co., No. 18-CV-00967, 2020 WL 3472634, at *4–5 (W.D. La. June 25, 2020).

[71] Id. (quoting Fagot v. Ciravola, 445 F. Supp. 342, 345 (E.D. La. 1978)).

[72] Burns, supra note 21, at 671.

[73] Gordon, 2020 WL 3472634, at *4–5.

[74] Murray v. Ramada Inns, Inc., 521 So. 2d 1123, 1132 (La. 1988).

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