Hill v. City of Horn LakeAnnotate this Case
The City of Horn Lake contracted with Phillips Construction Company and its owner Michael Phillips to work on a sewer project. Two employees of Phillips, Bertram Hill and David Mooneyhan, were working near the bottom of a trench that was seventeen feet deep when the walls of the trench suddenly collapsed. Mooneyhan was killed, and Hill was injured. Mooneyhan's beneficiaries and Hill (collectively "Plaintiffs") sued the City for Phillips' negligence under respondeat superior and also alleged that the City had negligently hired Phillips. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the City. Plaintiffs appealed. Finding that the City only acted in a supervisory role over the project, the Supreme Court concluded that was not enough to trigger a master-servant relationship for the elements of respondeat superior. The Court found that the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the City was proper, and therefore affirmed the judgment.