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VACARIOUS LIABILITY AND WANTONNESS - CHESHIRE V. PUTMAN

In Cheshire v. Putman, [Ms. 1071678, July 23, 2010]___So.3d___(Ala. 2010), the Alabama Supreme Court examined vicarious liability law and wantonness in an automobile collision case. In the underlying action, Putnam brought suit against Cheshire under theories of negligence and wantonness alleging that Cheshire's vehicle collided with Putman's vehicle, causing substantial injuries to the occupants of that vehicle. As to the issue of vicarious liability, the Court held that plaintiff proved that Cheshire was acting within the line and scope of his employment while driving home from work, as his employer paid for the gasoline that fueled the truck. The Court reversed Plaintiffs' wantonness verdict, however, concluding that the evidence presented at trial established only that Cheshire made an error in judgment - a degree of culpability that did not rise to the level of wantonness.

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