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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: December 10, 2018

Doctrine of Respondeat Superior Imposes Liability on Employer, Not Supervisor

On November 28, 2018, Justice Bransten of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Domus Arbiter Realty Corp. v. Bayrock Group LLC, 2018 NY Slip Op. 33021(U), holding that the doctrine of respondeat superior imposes liability on the employer, not the supervisor, explaining:

Plaintiff has alleged, however, an alternative theory that Defendant McGorty is personally liable pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior. It is undisputed that Defendant Zampolli was an employee of Paramount Realty Group of America Corp. Plaintiff alleges, however, that Defendant McGorty, rather than Paramount Realty Corp., held the broker’s license under which Defendant Zampolli is alleged to have operated, thus constituting an employer subject to vicarious liability.

While Defendant McGortv may hold the broker’s license under which Defendant Zampolli operated, the doctrine of respondeat superior does not impose liability on the individual supervisor, rather it serves to impose liability on the corporation. Absent a reason to pierce the corporate veil, New York’s law protects a corporate officer from individual liability. Therefore, the doctrine of respondeat superior, is a nonviable cause of action against Defendant McGorty.

(Internal citations omitted).

Respondeat superior is the legal doctrine under which an employer is responsible for an employee’s wrongdoing. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client have questions regarding a situation where an employer may be liable for an employee’s actions.

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