When it comes to tort liability in trucking litigation, plaintiffs’ attorneys have always cast a wide net. In the past, plaintiffs’ attorneys have typically used the theory of agency relationship between a broker and a carrier. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are now seeking to hold freight brokers liable through theories of negligent hiring, negligent retention, and negligent selection, alleging that a broker has failed to assess a carrier’s safety record, claims history, and insurance status. This article analyzes some of the latest case law on negligent hiring and discusses the best practices for brokers to avoid liability under the theory that they negligently hired a carrier.
Plaintiffs’ retained testifying experts must, similar to lawyers, market themselves to potential clients. In their profession, of course, their target clients are plaintiff-oriented firms. Just as members of any profession, plaintiffs’ testifying experts often become more sophisticated both in their craft and their marketing efforts with experience, which, essentially, means they become better at spinning the same underlying biographical facts over the years. As defense attorneys, we can uncover helpful impeachment material by comparing these experts’ current promotional materials with the ones used during the dawn of their careers. Both lawyers and their experts have used the Internet to promote themselves for almost two decades, and these marketing materials can still be found lurking in the greater depths of the Internet if you seek them out.
In catastrophic injury cases, defense counsel are most familiar with the first responder investigations conducted by local and state police and fire departments. In death cases, however, there is a third public responder, the local Medical Examiner’s Office.