FedEx has had a tough run of it lately. First, there were complaints that a worker died due to substandard workplace safety, and now, they are being sued after a particularly disturbing incident in which one of their drivers allegedly murdered a 7-year-old girl. According to the lawsuit, the defendant, who is now in jail on first-degree murder charges, struck the girl with his delivery van, and then strangled her, and dumped her body in the river. The driver was previously indicted on three counts of child sexual abuse ten years prior. This appears to be a sex crime.
Negligent hiring, supervision, and retention
There are two issues at play here. First, society has a vested interest in ensuring that those with criminal records get employed and support themselves. On the other hand, every company that makes a hire is responsible for the conduct of their employee. In this case, FedEx performed a scant background check on this individual before unleashing him on the public where he murdered a child.
There are no easy answers. Obviously, when something like this happens, it’s easy to blame FedEx for failing to ensure that the public was safe. On the other hand, how does anyone predict something like this?
Ultimately, there is a legal theory that holds FedEx and other companies responsible for their hiring practices. In this case, there would have been a red flag. It’s unclear what due diligence FedEx performed on the driver, but this was one guy you didn’t want interacting with the public on behalf of your company. Now, FedEx is being blamed for the girl’s death.
Does FedEx have a defense?
Not really. It’s quite easy for a lawyer to hold a company responsible for the conduct of their worker. Ultimately, the law is on the side of the plaintiffs. A company is vicariously liable for the conduct of any employee who is on the job. So legally, it’s as if FedEx committed the murder. While they won’t admit liability, it is likely that they will settle the claim and ask that the plaintiffs keep silent about the terms of the deal. It’s the sort of allegation you just want to go away. So, ultimately, the defense will be angling to settle the case as quickly as possible.
Ultimately, had FedEx performed a useful background check on this employee, they would have known he was a potential danger to children. While the government does give companies incentives to hire those convicted of felonies, it will not pay for wrongful death lawsuits that are caused by the same employees. In most cases, former felons can work these jobs without causing a danger to the public. However, lawsuits like these remind employers that conducting background checks is often vital to the hiring process.
Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have been injured due to the negligence of a company, you may be able to sue to recover damages. Call the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Palmer | Lopez today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.