In neither case however did the court lay down the

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Unformatted text preview: ily follow that a retail furniture store deliveryman entering customers' homes on a daily basis must also be so classified. Nor do we find it necessary, as appellant argues, 38 to assume as a matter of law that unless an employee is given free and independent access by means of a passkey to enter customers' homes, the employment must be considered only "incidental contact," requiring no independent investigation. In both Williams and Abbott, upon which appellant heavily relies, the employees had access to passkeys, and in both cases, [**18] the courts found a duty to conduct an investigation of the employees' background before hiring them. In neither case, however, did the court lay down the rule that unless passkey access was present, the employment should be considered as involving mere "incidental contact," and therefore not requiring investigation. As a practical matter, a review of the facts of both Williams and Abbott demonstrates the fallacy of appellant's argument on this issue. In Williams, the employee initially gained entry to the residence by ringing the doorbell and being voluntarily allowed to enter by the plaintiff. The assault on the plaintiff did not occur on that occasion, however, but occurred four days later when the employee again entered, but without permission. n1 In Abbott, the court found the complaint sufficient to state a cause of action based upon allegations that a pest control employee who had access to passkeys was allowed by the plaintiff to enter her home on one occasion, and that after the alleged employment had ended, the employee broke into the plaintiff's home at night and physically assaulted her. It is apparent from the foregoing that in neither Williams nor [**19] Abbott was the risk of harm to the tenants dependent upon passkey entry. On the other hand, in those cases, as in the case before us, the initial entry was gained by virtue of the "indicia of authority" conferred upon the employee and the assault or injury took place on a subsequent occasion. In the case before us, as in Williams and Abbott, the facts clearly sh...
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