Read v. Scott Fetzer Co.

Does Scott Fetzer's arrangement, where the independent dealers have sole responsibility for recruiting, hiring, firing and compensating independent contractors to sell vacuum cleaners, insulate them f


Scott Fetzer Co., manufacturer of Kirby Vacuum Cleaners, sells vacuums solely through independent dealers, who in turn utilize independent contractor-salespeople who sell the vacuums door-to-door. This sales system is required by the Kirby distributor agreement. Carter was a door-to-door salesperson of Kirby vacuums. The dealer who hired Carter did not check his references. Carter had several complaints of sexual harassment from a past employer and a deferred adjudication of indecency with a child on his record. During a sales call Carter sexually assaulted Read, a housewife. Read sued the distributor and Scott Fetzer for negligence. The jury found that the distributor and Scott Fetzer, because they controlled the actions of their sales force by requiring in-home demonstrations, were negligent in not checking the references of those they sent into the homes of others.

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Reference Info:State, 5th Circuit, Texas | United States

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