[author: Brian Kurtz]
Litigation value: $0.00, but only because Pete has a conscience and Daryl is a cinephile.
In last week’s season premier, new guy Pete was compared to Jim, while other new guy Clark was compared to Dwight. I’m all good with the former comparison, but the latter is waaaay off. Dwight beds his women using blunt Shrute charm. Clark’s ruse to seduce Erin was plain creepy. Thankfully Pete stepped in because Andy was clueless.
If not for Pete’s intervention as makeup man, Dunder Mifflin may be defending a lawsuit by Erin for negligence. Consider the facts. Branch manager Andy acquires knowledge that one of his young male employees intends to lure one of his young female employees back to his apartment, ply her with wine, doll her up in sexy outfits, and film her. Andy’s response? Here, take my credit card. (Shaking head sadly.)
A negligent retention action against an employer also can arise even if the injured party is a nonemployee. There have been a number of cases involving utility employees, deliverymen, or service technicians who have used access to a home to commit assault. In one particularly egregious Arkansas case, a cable company was unable to dismiss a negligent retention case filed by a woman who was violently assaulted in her home by a cable TV installer. The plaintiff alleged that the company knew or should have known that the same installer had attempted to assault a female customer months earlier.
Here, Andy not only knew of Clark’s plans, he encouraged staffers to comment on Erin’s body and offered to pay for ”fun, sexy outfits.” Had Clark gone through with his plan, Erin would have had little trouble establishing Dunder Mifflin’s liability.
But fortunately, as often happens on The Office, everything worked out fine. Erin wasn’t assaulted. Pete may have stumbled into an office romance. And Dwight didn’t chop off Nellie’s fingers. Thank you, James Franco.
That’s what we said. What do you say?