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May 25, 2004


La. Sup. Ct. Exonerates Parent Corp. in Assumed-Duty Case

Today the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed a jury verdict and a 1st Circuit decision against a parent corporation in a personal-injury suit by employees of a subsidiary, who sued the parent under the "assumed duty" doctrine defined by Restatement (2d) Torts 324A. While the Court did not explicitly adopt 324A, it described that Restatement provision as "not ... contrary to Louisiana law," and thus analyzed the case under 324A terms. The Court explained that "[b]ecause of well-established legal rules" governing employers and corporations, "we will not 'lightly assume' that a parent corporation has agreed to accept the subdiary-employer's duty to provide a safe workplace absent proof of an affirmative undertaking of that duty by the parent corporation.... [N]either a parent's concern with safety conditions and its general communications with the subsidary regarding safety matters, nor its superior knowledge and expertise regarding safety issues, will create in the parent corporation a duty to guarantee a safe working environment for its subsidiary's employees under 324A." Bujol v. Entergy Services, Inc., 03-C-0492 c/w 03-C-0502, slip op. (La. May 25, 2004).

Posted by RPW at May 25, 2004 04:42 PM
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