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Unformatted text preview: Result Oriented. Success Driven. www.querrey.com 2008 Querrey & Harrow, Ltd. All rights reserved. Updated: 10 1 08 ILLINOIS LAW MANUAL CHAPTER VIII VICARIOUS LIABILITY A. MASTER/SERVANT - RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR 1. Basic Law In a master/servant relationship, a principal can be held liable for the wrongful conduct of an agent if the conduct is committed within the scope of that relationship. Lang v. Silva , 306 Ill. App. 3d 960 (1999). This is known as the doctrine of respondeat superior . It most commonly arises in the context of an employer's liability for the negligent conduct of an employee. In limited circumstances, however, an employer may also be held vicariously liable for the intentional torts or other misconduct of an employee. Landrus v. Eagle Wings , 236 Ill. App. 3d 711 (1992); Bryant v. Livigni , 250 Ill. App. 3d 303 (1993). 2. The Master/Servant Relationship The principal's or master's liability is derived from his or her relationship to the agent, or servant. A master is one who has the right to control the manner and method of work performed. A servant is one whose work is subject to the supervision or control of the master. If you have questions or would like further information regarding Master/Servant-Respondeat Superior, please contact: Terrence Guolee 312-540-7544 email@example.com -2- By contrast, an independent contractor is a person hired for a particular purpose or project, who is compensated on a project-by-project basis, and who exercises his own discretion over the manner and method of carrying out the work. Stewart v. Jones , 318 Ill. App. 3d 552 (2001). Whether the agent is a servant or an independent contractor is nearly always a question of fact to be determined by a jury. 3. Liability for Conduct of Independent Contractors Generally, one who hires an independent contractor is not liable for the acts or omissions of the independent contractor. Schaugnessy v. Skender Construction Co., 342 Ill. App. 3d 730 (2003). However, Section 414 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts , adopted by Illinois courts, provides an exception to the general rule. Schaugnessy, 342 Ill. App. 3d at 736; see also Larson v. Commonwealth Edison Co. , 33 Ill. 2d 316 (1965). Section 414 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts states: One who entrusts work to an independent contractor, but who retains the control of any part of the work, is subject to liability for physical harm to others for whose safety the employer owes a duty to exercise reasonable care, which is caused by his failure to exercise his control with reasonable care. The retained control concept is explored in comment (c) of Section 414. Comment (c) states: In order for the rule stated in this Section to apply, the employer must have retained at least some degree of control over the manner in which the work is done. It is not enough that he has merely a general right to order the work stopped or resumed, to inspect its progress or to receive reports, to...
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