Our Lady of Peace v. MorganAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court entering final judgment against a nursing home arising from actions taken by a nursing assistant at the nursing home, holding that it was impossible for the trial court to reach its conclusion based on the limited evidence presented at a plea-in-bar hearing.
The nursing assistant in this case molested and raped a resident at the nursing home. The resident's estate sued the nursing home, and the jury returned a verdict against the nursing home. The nursing home appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in holding prior to trial that the nursing assistant had committed the molestation and rape while acting with the scope of his employment and erred in its evidentiary rulings regarding the admissibility of expert testimony. The Supreme Court remanded the case for retrial, holding that the trial court erred in (1) removing the scope-of-employment issue from the jury based upon its ruling on the nursing home's plea in bar, which it later implemented through its ruling on a motion in limine and through its jury instruction; and (2) excluding the nursing home's expert witness and in admitting challenged testimony of the Estate's expert witness.