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Unformatted text preview: ORDS
The complaint filed by Harrison alleged that appellant either knew or should have known
that on the date of hiring Turner, and during the course of his employment, Turner was
incompetent and unfit to work as a deliveryman. This allegation was grounded upon
specific allegations pertaining to Turner's record of assault, theft, and probation violation;
his attack upon his former wife; his hospital admissions for acute depression,
hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts; his history of substance abuse, including alcohol,
cocaine, and heroin; and Turner's vicious and violent nature. The allegations were denied
Notwithstanding these allegations of the complaint, denied by appellant, appellant argues
that the records of Turner's arrests, convictions, and his hospitalization for drug abuse and
mental illness were inadmissible. Appellant cites no decision from this or any other
jurisdiction denying the admissibility of such records in cases of this kind, in the absence
of specific statutory authority precluding their [**45] use as evidence. Appellee, on the
other hand, points to an abundance of authority holding that such records are admissible
to prove the employee's unfitness for employment or retention, and to establish what
information the employer would likely have obtained had it made reasonable inquiry. See
Williams, 386 So.2d at 1241.
This court in Petrik v. New Hampshire Insurance Company, 379 So.2d 1287, 1289 (Fla.
1st DCA 1979), cert. denied, 400 So.2d 8 (Fla. 1981), recognized the rule as explained in
Clooney v. Geeting, 352 So.2d 1216 (Fla.2d DCA 1977), that an employee's past driving
record would be admissible to show negligent hiring or employment [*760] of a driver.
The decision in Williams, 386 So.2d at 1239, 1240, while not specifically addressing the
admissibility of records as proof, leaves no doubt as to the relevancy of information
concerning an applicant's criminal or psychiatric treatment, history, and character.
Further, the Florida evidence code, Section 90.405(2), Florida Statutes, provides that
when character or a particular trait of character of a person is an essential element of
[**46] a charge, claim, or defense, proof may be made of specific instances of his
Appellee cites a number of negligent hiring or retent...
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- Spring '08