Who to sue if an employee made a mistake – them or their employer?

I parked my truck and trailer in a lot at a boat ramp. At the end of the day I went into the office to pay for the day’s parking. The clerk said that I was not on the list. I said that I parked in the lot all day and gave the clerk the fee of $10 and made sure that he wrote down my registration number. He said he would check with the morning crew the next day. Then 2 weeks later I got a parking ticket for $125. I want to file civil and criminal complaints against the clerk for my damages ($125). The Harbormaster insists that if I want to file against anyone that it should be him since the clerk was his agent. Can I file against the clerk or must I file against the boss?tia

Asked on August 20, 2013 under Business Law, Massachusetts


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The Harbormaster is right.  When an employee is acting within the scope of his employment and is negligent, the employer is responsible for the acts of the employee under the legal theory of respondeat superior.  However, you can personally name the clerk as well if you want to.  The defense of one will be the defense of the other, and if you win, the employer will pay.  I can't imagine why he hasn't paid you already.

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