According to contemporary law vicarious liability is regarded as the liability of one person for the torts committed by another person. The wrong-doer is of course, liable to the injured person but another person may be jointly liable with him to compensate the injured party. The law states that where the injured party chooses to sue one of the tortfeasors, he is subsequently prevented from suing the other even if his claim for damages is not satisfied. So it is advisable for the injured party to sue the tortfeasors jointly.1
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In this case of Sprod v Public Relations Oriented Security, we find that the plaintiff was found lying in a pool of blood in an unconscious state at the northern side of the Great Western Highway at St Marys, after which he was taken to a hospital nearby and was reported to have had serious injuries. He remained in the hospital for a year then moved to the Westmead Brain Injury Unit where he remained for two months. His injuries which included permanent brain damage are reported to have come up as a result of brutal assaults on his head. We find that plaintiff goes ahead looking for compensations regarding his injuries from the Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd which is said to be the company from which the security guards who are also known as bouncers for the St Marys Band Club were attached.2
In this case, we find that the plaintiff claims to have been injured by the employees of the security company. In this case, we find that the defendant, who is the Public Relations Oriented Security Pty Ltd, denies the fact that his employees assaulted the plaintiff and caused him serious injuries. The defendant goes ahead saying that even if the employees caused the injury then it was done in circumstances where the company could not be held liable.
According to the common law, the plaintiff, in this case, has the right to claim the damages from the company since he claims that the guards from the company are the ones who injured him. This is well indicated in the evidence given by Peter Gregory who was at the club on that same day where he saw the plaintiff being held by the bouncers towards the up Great Western Highway in the direction of Queen Street. He says that he was a bit concerned as to where the plaintiff was being taken to and he had the urge to follow but in the process, he was stopped by Cheryl but he continued to watch the two bouncers and the plaintiff where he saw the plaintiff being taken into the laneway which was about fifty meters from the pizza shop.
After some time he saw the first two bouncers walk out of the laneway and walk back to the club and passed him, in the process of them passing him another man asked them what they had done to him one of the bouncers answered, “He won’t be causing any trouble tonight. He just got his head kicked in”. After that Mr Gregory noticed that the plaintiff could not walk by himself this clearly indicates that the guards carried out the assault.
The court made a ruling of this case basing on the concept of vicarious liability which is a liability that arises from the relationship of master and servant when the tort was committed by the latter in the course and scope of employment. This case indicates that the basis of vicarious liability is founded on the rule of common sense as employees are usually people of meagre means and it is, therefore, only fair that the injured person is allowed to recover damages from the employer. Thus the injured person is allowed to recover damages from the employers. Thus where there is a relationship of master and servant, the former is always liable for the torts committed by the latter in the course and scope of his duties. The master or the employer can claim compensation from the negligent employee. 3 So in the case of Sprod v Public Relations Oriented Security, it was concluded that the master who is the security company has a right to ask for compensation from its employees which is the Bouncers.
This is well indicated in the case of; Zoom Enterprises Pty Limited v Zabow 2007, where Zoom a security company was contracted to staff the Clovelly Hotel where it happened that one of its employees punched Mr Zabow who was had been evicted earlier in the evening from the hotel Mr Zabow was reported to have suffered brain damage. In this case, Mr Zabow went ahead to sue the security company alleging that the assault from the guards as a result of vicarious liability.
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The courts’ judgment towards this case was made basing on the findings that were factual that the guard and his colleagues had made plans to disperse a group of people including Mr Zabow. As result of the two patrons and Mr Zabow being assaulted by the same guard indicated that the guard was acting in the way of his employment and this led to the security being held liable for his torts.
The law also provides that a master is liable for every wrongful act of the servant if committed in the course of employment even without any express approval by him. It is immaterial that the alleged act was not done for the benefit of the master. But the master is not liable for torts committed beyond the scope of employment unless he has expressly authorized such acts or subsequently ratifies them. 4
So in the case of Sprod v Public Relations Oriented Security, the security company was not found liable for the actions of its employees since the court ruled that the company was not aware of the agreement between the club and the owner of the shop. For the provision of evidence, in this case, we find that there was David Schoer who is stated to be the owner and operator of Dave’s Midnight pizza he is reported to have started operating his shop from the year 1997 where under his operations there have been several reported incidences that are found to have been causing problems in the shop where for one instance he was assaulted by the patrons and also a pot was thrown at his head which almost led him to an unconscious state.
This led the shop owner to come up with an arrangement with the St Marys Club that apart from him giving a discount rate on pizzas and drinks the Band’s uniformed staff and the security guards that the bouncers should be allowed to go to the shop and help him solve the problems that he encounters at the shop.
There was an act of negligence which according to the common is defined as the breach of a duty caused by the omission to do something which a reasonable man can do, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs. In this case, there existed the case of contributory negligence where the law takes into consideration any act or conduct of the party injured which may have contributed to the injuries he received.
At one time a person who had by his own negligence contributed to the injury he received could not maintain an action against another in respect of such injury. This is well indicated in this case we find that Mr Schoer gave his evidence saying that in many cases the name of the security company P.R.O.S on either the shirt or the tie the guards wear.
He goes ahead and gives his evidence saying that on the 22nd of December he remembers a young who is the plaintiff, in this case, went into his shop and made started pestering him, the plaintiff was said to have been drunk and abusive whereby he made rude remarks to the female patrons that were present and in the process, he assaulted one of the patrons by slapping one of them, therefore according to the law, the plaintiff is not in a position to claim for the damages for the injuries caused by the bouncers. 5
In this case, we can deduce that the bouncers can be regarded as independent contractors where the law states that an independent contractor is one who undertakes to produce a given result without being in any way controlled as to the method by which he achieves that result. He is free to use his own initiative and discretion as to methods appropriate to the nature of the contractual assignment. For the obvious reason that the employer has no strict right of control over the methods used by the contractor, he is not liable for his wrongful acts committed during the execution of his work, therefore the employees of the security firm may not be held liable for their activities since they were carrying out their duties of ensuring security in the area.6
Aaron L, (2003) Negligence and Tort Law, Law Offices. Web.
Emanuel, S. L. (2004): Fundamental of Business Law, 4th Edition, Educational Publishers New York, pp 12-45.
Gifford, K. (1980) Legal Profession Law & Practice in Victoria Law Book Co, Sydney, pp 35-49.
Jertz, A. and Miller L. R, (2004): Fundamentals of Business Law, 3rd Edition; New York, Macmillan Publisher, pp 47-58.
Penrose, R (2005): Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, New York, Longman Publisher, pp 14-26.
Sprod v Public Relations Oriented Security, (2007). Web.
- Sprod v Public Relations Oriented Security, (2007). Web.
- Emanuel, S. L. (2004): Fundamental of Business Law, 4th Edition, Educational Publishers New York, pp 12-45.
- Jertz, A. and Miller L. R, (2004): Fundamentals of Business Law, 3rd Edition, Macmillan Publisher, New York,
- Penrose, R (2005): Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, Longman Publisher, New York.
- Aaron L, (2003) Negligence and Tort Law, Law Offices. Web.
- Sprod v Public Relations Oriented Security, (2007). Web.