Menu icon Access the Business Officer Magazine menu by clicking or touching here.
Colorado Lawyer Magazine logo, click or touch this logo to return to the homepage Click or touch the Colorado Lawyer Magazine logo to return to the homepage. Search

Brown v. Long Romero.

2021 CO 67. No. 20SA429. Vicarious Liability—Negligence—Labor and Employment.

September 27, 2021

Plaintiff’s child died while plaintiff was giving birth at the Denver Center for Birth and Wellness (DCBW). Plaintiff and her husband (collectively, Brown) brought direct negligence claims against DCBW and one it its employees, but they did not assert vicarious liability. Nevertheless, DCBW acknowledged vicarious liability. The trial court then dismissed the negligence claim, citing McHaffie v. Bunch, 891 S.W.2d 822 (Mo. 1995), which held that “where an employer acknowledges vicarious liability for its employee’s negligence, a plaintiff’s direct negligence claims against the employer are barred.”

The Supreme Court was asked to decide whether the “McHaffie Rule” applies even where the plaintiff chooses not to assert vicarious liability for an employee’s negligence and, instead, asserts only direct negligence claims against the employer. The Court held that it does not. Accordingly, the Court made the rule to show cause absolute, vacated the trial court’s grant of partial judgment on the pleadings, and remanded the case with directions to reinstate Brown’s negligent hiring claim.

Official Colorado Supreme Court proceedings can be found at the Colorado Supreme Court website.

Back to the From the Courts Page