Singletary v. Fridley, No. 99 CA 0944.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
Writing for the CourtFITZSIMMONS, J.
PartiesHuey Glen SINGLETARY, Glenda Slaydon, Scotty Kitchen and Nathan Dillard v. Lyle FRIDLEY, Executive Investigations & Associates, Inc., Crawford & Company, Inc., Asplundh Tree Expert Company, James M. Taylor, and Taylor, Wellons & Politz, L.L.C.
Docket NumberNo. 99 CA 0944.
Decision Date12 May 2000

762 So.2d 692

Huey Glen SINGLETARY, Glenda Slaydon, Scotty Kitchen and Nathan Dillard
v.
Lyle FRIDLEY, Executive Investigations & Associates, Inc., Crawford & Company, Inc., Asplundh Tree Expert Company, James M. Taylor, and Taylor, Wellons & Politz, L.L.C

No. .

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit.

May 12, 2000.


762 So.2d 693
William M. Magee, Covington, Counsel for Plaintiffs—Appellants—Huey Glen Singletary, et al

Richard B. Eason, II, Robert N. Markle, New Orleans, Counsel for Defendants— Appellees—Crawford & Company, Inc. and Asplundh Tree Expert Company.

George J. Nalley, Jr., Dona J. Dew, Metairie, Counsel for Defendants—Appellees —James M. Taylor and Taylor, Wellons & Politz, L.L.C.

Roger D. Marlow, Covington, Counsel for Defendants—Lyle Fridley and Executive Investigations & Associates.

Before: GONZALES, FITZSIMMONS, and WEIMER, JJ.

FITZSIMMONS, J.

Huey Singletary, Glenda Slaydon, Scotty Kitchen, and Nathan Dillard ("Singletary") appeal from summary judgments granted in favor of Crawford & Company, Inc. ("Crawford") and Asplundh Tree Expert Company ("Asplundh"), as well as James M. Taylor and Taylor, Wellons & Politz, L.L.C. (collectively "Taylor"). The summary judgments dismissed appellees from a lawsuit in which they had been named as parties on the basis of vicarious liability. Appellees, Crawford and Asplundh, answered the appeal, and sought payment of the legal costs at the trial and appellate levels of litigation. We affirm the grant of partial summary judgments; the claim for attorney fees is denied.

BACKGROUND FACTS

Mr. Singletary filed a claim in workers' compensation against his employer, Asplundh. He prevailed on the merits. The instant appeal arises out of Asplundh's investigation of Mr. Singletary's claim.1 Asplundh hired Crawford, an adjustor, to conduct an investigation of Mr. Singletary's claim. Crawford retained the services of Executive Investigations & Associates, Inc. ("Executive"); whereupon, Executive hired a private investigator, Lyle Fridley ("Fridley").

In the appeal, Singletary alleges that Fridley trespassed on the property of one of the plaintiffs for the purpose of making video tapes and intercepting oral communications involving Singletary. The video tapes were provided by Fridley to Executive, which turned them over to Crawford and/or Asplundh. The tapes were then passed on to a member of the Taylor law firm, which was representing Asplundh.

Singletary alleged that the manner in which Fridley obtained the electronic surveillance violated plaintiffs' right to privacy and was in contravention to the Electronic Surveillance Act. Asplundh, Crawford, and Taylor filed motions for partial summary judgment, which were granted by the court. On appeal, Singletary has alleged that the trial court erred in granting partial summary judgments in favor of Asplundh, Crawford, and Taylor.

VICARIOUS LIABILITY

It is solidly established that a master or employer is liable for the tortuous conduct of a servant or employee. La. C.C. art. 2320. Contrarily, an employer is not liable for the torts of an independent contractor employee committed in the course of performing his...

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