The patient sued the staffing agency, alleging vicarious liability, punitive damages and negligent hiring/retention. The trial court granted a Summary Judgment Motion in favor of the staffing agency (holding there was no genuine material issue of fact surrounding the allegations). The patient filed an appeal and the appeals court affirmed the lower court decision because the staff nurses were under the control of the healthcare center and not the staffing agency. In addition, the appeals court decided that the facts did not support the negligent hiring/retention claim against the staffing agency. In doing so, the court carefully supported its decision. The court analyzed the “lent employee” doctrine, which states that a general employer is vicariously liable for any tortious conduct (i.e., negligence) of a lent employee only if the general employer has control of or the right to control the performance of the lent employee’s work. In this case, the staffing agency had no control over the lent nurse employees’ care to patients. The healthcare center informed the agency nurses of their responsibilities, supervised these nurses as it did their own nurse employees, informed the staffing agency if they did not want certain nurses to work at the health center, provided the equipment for patient care, provided information to the agency for the purposes of the nurses’ evaluations, and informed the agency when discipline or termination was required of the nurses from the agency. “The patient was being cared for at a healthcare center and was allegedly abused by two agency nurses while receiving an enema. The patient sued the staffing agency, alleging vicarious liability, punitive damages and negligent hiring/retention.” In short, the only control the nurse staff agency had over its nurses was over administrative responsibilities, msn nursing jobs such as ensuring the nurses were licensed and competent, paying the nurses, providing workers’ compensation and orienting them to the health center’s expectations.
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