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Employer Not Responsible for Employee's Rape of Hitchhiker
Description Domino's delivery man picked up a woman waiting for a bus and raped her. Her suit for negligent hiring against Domino's for not having checked the employee's criminal past did not show evidence of a special relationship between Domino's and the victim that created a duty.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Negligent Hiring, Liability
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts As Sturtz was driving to deliver Domino's products, he offered a ride to Poe, who was waiting for a bus. He told her it would be okay because he worked for Domino's. After Poe got in his car, Sturtz drove to a remote area and raped her at knife-point. Poe sued Domino's, claiming it was negligent for failing to check Sturtz's criminal background, which included previous convictions for sexual assault. Sturtz had lied on his employment form, claiming he had no convictions. "The Iowa courts hold that a special relationship must exist in order for the plaintiff to prevail in a negligent-hiring case." District court granted Domino's summary judgment. Poe appealed.
Court of Appeals Decision Affirmed. Domino's did not cause the meeting between the parties to arise when the wrongful act occurred. The meeting did not arise out of Sturtz's employment. Poe was not a Domino's customer nor was she in a residence that Sturtz was going to leave a product. Domino's received no benefit, even potential or indirect, from the meeting.
Citation Poe v. Domino's Pizza, Inc., 1998 WL 121803 (8th Cir.)
139 F.3d 617 (8th Cir., 1998)

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