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Walter Latimer, left, and Bruno Renda, right, Shareholders with Fowler White Burnett. Walter Latimer, left, and Bruno Renda, right, Shareholders with Fowler White Burnett.

Florida plaintiffs are pressing for the extinction of vicarious liability against employers for their employees’ negligence. The plaintiffs are not trying to give employers a free pass. They seek to impose additional liability upon them for their employees’ conduct and present prejudicial evidence to the jury. When they sue, some plaintiffs are skipping claims for vicarious liability altogether. Instead, they opt for claims for direct negligence, such as for negligent hiring, training, retention, supervision and entrustment. Their goal is to open up discovery on the employers’ operational details, hoping to weave a web of “institutional wrongdoing.” Even if immaterial to the actual accident, this can lead to “reptile”-style narratives, causing juries to render verdicts out of fear for their safety.

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