Liability for Independent Contractors

Crum Brothers Corp., a steel drum manufacturer, owned and operated a manufacturing plant in Pittsburg, Penn.. Coel Stone, the plant superintendent, hired Pitt Security Patrol, Inc. (PSP), a security company, to guard CBC property and deter thieves and vandals. Some PSP security guards, as Stone knew, carried firearms. Craig Sharp, a PSP security guard, was not certified as an armed guard but nevertheless took his gun, in a briefcase, to work. While working at the CBC plant Craig fired his gun at Don Stew, a CBC employee, in the belief that Stew was an intruder. The bullet struck and killed Stew. Stew’s mother filed a suit in court against CBC and others, alleging in part that her son’s death was the result of PSP’s negligence, for which CBC was responsible.

Questions to consider, but not limit yourself by. What is the plaintiff’s best argument that CBC is responsible for PSP’s actions? What is CBC’s best defense? Was this an inherently dangerous situation?

USE IRAC to analyze the agency relationships and liabilities. Remember to use case law as authority.

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