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

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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