Yesterday, we observed that Paula Deen’s deposition testimony in the case filed by Lisa Jackson may be used to prove that one or more companies owned by Deen must pay for Jackson’s damages resulting from assault and battery by Deen’s brother, Earl “Bubba” Heirs, assuming that Jackson proves assault and battery. We said that, if Heirs worked for the companies, and the companies knew of Heirs’ misconduct and either expressly adopted it or implicitly approved of it, then the companies could be found vicariously liable based on a theory of ratification. But what if Heirs only worked for one of the companies? If Heirs is found liable, could the other companies also be found liable? They could, based on a theory of alter ego, and Deen’s testimony may be helpful in supporting the theory.
Once known for her frying, Paula Deen is now known for her firing. On Sunday, the Food Network announced that it would not be renewing Deen’s contract. Public debate has followed about whether Deen’s deposition testimony last month that she used the N-word in the past justified the network’s action. That’s a business decision for the network, not a legal question. However, the lawsuit that Deen was testifying in is chock-full of legal questions of the kind that fascinate us at Suits by Suits – starting with questions of ratification, or when an employer can be held liable for the intentional wrongdoing of one employee towards another employee. Deen’s testimony is relevant to these questions.
We cover a broad range of issues that arise in employment disputes. Occasionally, we also spotlight other topics of relevant legal interest, ranging from health care to white-collar defense to sports, just to keep things interesting.
Led by Jason Knott and Andrew Goldfarb, and featuring attorneys with deep knowledge and expertise in their fields, Suits by Suits seeks to engage its readers on these relevant and often complicated topics. Comments and special requests are welcome and invited. Before reading, please view the disclaimer.