MA Court Refuses Employer Liability for Drunk Driving Car Accident Injury

On July 12, 2010 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court issued an important decision in Lev v. Beverly-Enterprises Massachusetts, Inc. The Court refused to hold an employer liable for a  Massachusetts employee drunk driving  pedestrian accident which caused serious personal injury to a pedestrian.

The key facts in the case are: The drunk driving criminal was employed as a chef. After work, the employee met a manager from the same company at a bar / restaurant and had drinks. While consuming alcoholic beverages they discussed work issues. After leaving work “While driving through the intersection of Washington Street and the on-ramp to Route 128 north in Newton” the negligent driver’s car “struck the plaintiff as he was crossing the street. The plaintiff suffered severe and debilitating injuries.”

In a separate case the employee was found guilty of OUI as a result of the Auto/ Car Crash.

The Mass. Supreme Judicial court ruled “As we have stated, the general rule under our common law is that there is no duty to control another person’s conduct to prevent that person from causing harm to a third party. See Leavitt v. Brockton Hosp., Inc., 454 Mass. 37, 40-41, 907 N.E.2d 213 (2009); Restatement (Second) of Torts, supra at § 315. In the circumstances of this case, we have concluded that Beverly did not owe a common law duty of care to the plaintiff based either on employer-host liability or on a “special relationship” between Beverly and Ahern. As such, a duty of care did not flow from Beverly’s substance, drug, and alcohol abuse policy and did not create a cause of action in negligence. Had we concluded that Beverly did owe a duty of care to the plaintiff, then Pacitti’s failure strictly to enforce Beverly’s policy would constitute evidence of negligence by Pacitti and, therefore, Beverly.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

One Response to “MA Court Refuses Employer Liability for Drunk Driving Car Accident Injury”