Cox v. Evansville Police DepartmentAnnotate this Case
In this case brought against two women who were sexually assaulted by two on-duty police officers, the Supreme Court held that the officers’ city employers may be liable under the scope-of-employment rule, traditionally called respondent superior, and that the rule’s common-carrier exception does not apply.
Plaintiffs brought civil actions against Fort Wayne and Evansville, the city employers of the police officers. Both Plaintiffs claimed vicarious liability under the rule of responder superior and the common-carrier exception, which imposes a more stringent standard of care on certain enterprises. The trial court granted summary judgment for the cities on the common-carrier issue. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a city does not, under respondent superior, escape liability as a matter of law for a sexual assault by a police officer; and (2) relationships between the cities and the women in these cases do not fall within the common-carrier exception.