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California Torts
Copyright 2017, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

1-8 California Torts 8.syn


Vicarious Liability


Neil M. Levy; Michael M. Golden; Leonard Sacks.

Chapter Summary


This chapter discusses the doctrine of vicarious liability (also known as imputed negligence). The chapter explains that vicarious liability attaches to a person who is free from fault but is required to bear the consequences of the actions of another who was at fault. The chapter discusses a number of situations in which viacarious liability may apply, including vicarious liability of principals for the torts of agents and vicarious liability of employers for the torts of employees under the doctrine of respondeat superior. The chapter also provides guidance on determining who is an employee or an agent; discusses liability for intentional torts by an employee or agent; and reviews the right to indemnity.

In addition, the chapter examines circumstances under which the hirer of an independent contractor may be held vicariously liable for the torts of the contractor, including liability under the peculiar risk doctrine. The chapter then addresses vicarious liability arising from family relationships (particularly parent and child), partnerships, joint ventures, corporations, labor unions, and franchises. The chapter concludes with a detailed discussion on corporate vicarious liability, including the "alter ego" doctrine.

California Torts (Matthew Bender) provides in-depth coverage of virtually all recognized theories of tort liability under California law, including related defenses and immunities. In addition to its substantial focus on California personal injury law, the treatise also covers professional liability and a variety of business tort causes of action, such as unfair competition, intentional or negligent interference with business or contractual relationships, unjust dismissal, and "bad faith" actions. It contains detailed information to help attorneys prepare during every stage of case development, from pretrial to verdict to post trial.


Negligence in California,vicarious liability in California,imputed negligence in California,respondeat superior,indemnity,independent contractor,employer,employee,principal liability,agent liability,peculiar risk doctrine,alter ego doctrine,partnership liability,joint venture liability,labor union liability,franchisor liability,nonprofit organization liability,corporate director liability,corporate officer liability,parent corporation liability


Imputed comparative negligence is discussed in Chapter 4.

A discussion of various theories of vicarious liability in the context of automobile accidents is found in Chapter 20, Part B.

The vicarious liability of owners of recreational boats and airplanes is discussed in Chapters 21 and 22, respectively.

The vicarious liability of physicians for the negligence of medical assistants is discussed in Chapter 31.

A discussion of the liability of employers or principals for punitive damages based on the acts of their employees or agents is found in Chapter 54.

Discussion on indemnity rights among multiple defendants in a tort action is found in Chapter 74.


For forms of pleadings for use in vicarious liability actions involving airplanes, see California Forms of Pleading and Practice (Matthew Bender), Chapter 16; for forms of pleadings for use in vicarious liability actions involving cars, see Chapter 80; for forms of pleadings for use in vicarious liability actions involving boats, see Chapter 100; for discussion of the vicarious liability of shareholders and certain other individuals for corporate obligations under the "alter ego" doctrine, see Chapter 160; for forms of pleadings for use in vicarious liability actions involving employers and employees, see Chapter 248; for forms of pleadings for use in vicarious liability actions involving parents and children, see Chapter 394; and for forms of pleadings for use in vicarious liability actions involving principles and agents, see Chapter 427.

For detailed discussion on an employer or corporation's vicarious liability for punitive damages caused by an employee or servant, see Personal Injury: Actions, Defenses, Damages, Ch. 114 (Matthew Bender).

For sample legal arguments pertaining to a variety of vicarious liability situations, see California Points and Authorities (Matthew Bender), Chapter 46.

For a form and discussion supporting the contention that a physician is liable for professional negligence based on vicarious liability for the negligence of medical assistants, see California Points and Authorities, Ch. 175, Physicians and Surgeons: Medical Malpractice (Matthew Bender).
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