Q: My cell phone contained some extremely private photos. I took the phone to a store for repairs, and an employee named Tom went to the back office to examine it. While there, I believe that he accessed my photos. Then Tom disseminated them to his friends. Now, I have heard that other customers had been treated this way, too.
A: Pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior, the store can be held vicariously liable for a tort committed by Tom while acting within the scope of his employment. If the facts are as you say, you appear to have a case under theories of negligence, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, prima facie tort, breach of contract, breach of warranty, and negligent hiring and supervision.
You will need to show that the store knew or should have known (a) that its employees, including Tom, were removing personal information and photos without knowledge or consent or (b) at minimum, of Tom’s propensity for such dastardly conduct. The store will attempt to prove that Tom was acting solely for personal motives unrelated to the furtherance of the store’s business, and engaging in conduct that the store could not reasonably have expected.
You will need hard evidence as to what had occurred in the past, and exactly what Tom did in the present. What you merely believe, and what you merely have heard, does not rise to the level of the underlying evidence that gave rise to your belief, and the testimony of those who have actually witnessed one or another event. Your attorney will want to find them.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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