Law Office Of Paul DePetris
paul@newjerseylemon.com

Negligent Hiring


Read below to learn more about this topic.

Or, to receive a no cost phone consultation about what the Law Office of Paul DePetris might be able to do for you, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris at paul@newjerseylemon.com.

The information in this article is only for New Jersey Law Division, Civil Part cases and not for other New Jersey court cases, such as those in New Jersey Special Civil Court, New Jersey Small Claims Court or New Jersey Chancery Court!!! Do not use this article if you have a New Jersey Special Civil Court, New Jersey Small Claims Court or New Jersey Chancery Court case!!! Also, no website is a substitute for competent advice from a New Jersey lawyer!

Warning – this article does not necessarily include each and every New Jersey court rule that may apply to your New Jersey case! The Law Office of Paul DePetris does not guarantee that the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website are the latest versions of the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not been amended, repealed or superseded by other federal or state law. The New Jersey Statutes, United States Statutes, New Jersey Administrative Code and Federal Code in this database are not annotated. Accordingly, this database may include laws that: (1) never became operable due to unmet conditions; (2) expired; (3) were repealed or amended; (4) were declared void by a court of law; (5) or are otherwise invalid. Further, effective dates of the laws are not necessarily included in the database. Accordingly, you should not rely upon the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website contained in this database for any purpose and before taking any legal measures, you instead should read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney for any changes in the laws. Be certain to cross reference all applicable rules before preparing, filing or serving any papers!!! For example, Special Civil Part Rules often cross reference other rules – rules that apply to Special Civil Part Cases as well as to other types of civil cases not being heard in Special Civil Part.

NEW JERSEY NEGLIGENT HIRING FAQS

WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY NEGLIGENT HIRING CASE?
A New Jersey negligent hiring case is a New Jersey “tort” case. The New Jersey Supreme Court recognized the tort of New Jersey negligent hiring in 1982. Before that, the New Jersey Appellate Division noted the tort of New Jersey negligent hiring in 1971. In a New Jersey negligent hiring case, a New Jersey plaintiff brings a lawsuit alleges that a New Jersey defendant employer was negligent in the manner in which the New Jersey defendant employer hired and supervised the alleged dangerous employee’s name. A New Jersey plaintiff further claims that as a result of the New Jersey defendant employer’s negligence, the New Jersey plaintiff was exposed to the alleged dangerous employee, a dangerous individual, who ultimately caused the New Jersey plaintiff to sustain damage or injury

WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY “TORT” CASE?
There are two types of civil cases in New Jersey – “tort” cases and “contract” cases. A New Jersey “tort” case is a category or type of case other than one based upon a contract. A New Jersey negligent hiring case is a “tort” case when the parties involved in the case do not have some type of contract with one another.

WHO IS THE NEW JERSEY NEGLIGENT HIRING PLAINTIFF IN A NEW JERSEY NEGLIGENT HIRING CASE?
A “plaintiff” is usually the person or company that files the New Jersey negligent hiring case.

WHO IS A DEFENDANT IN A NEW JERSEY NEGLIGENT HIRING CASE?
A “defendant” is usually the person or company that is sued in a New Jersey negligent hiring case. But in some cases, a defendant may file a counterclaim that starts the New Jersey negligent hiring case. If in a civil suit the New Jersey negligent hiring defendant files a counterclaim alleging that the main suit constitutes negligent hiring, it may be that the filing of the counterclaim would be allowed, but its trial withheld until disposition of the original action.

WHAT IS THE DUTY OF A NEW JERSEY DEFENDANT EMPLOYEE GENERALLY IN A NEW JERSEY NEGLIGENT HIRING CASE?
The mere happening of an unfortunate event does not provide a basis for liability in a New Jersey negligent hiring case. Liability is established in a New Jersey negligent hiring case only if it is proven that a person owing a duty to another breached that duty, and the breach of duty caused the injury or damages claimed in the New Jersey negligent hiring case.
Generally, the New Jersey defendant employer is not liable for an employee’s criminal or tortious act, whether negligent or intentional, unless the act was committed during the course of, and within the scope of, employment. An exception exists in the case of a New Jersey negligent hiring case. The New Jersey defendant employer may be held responsible for the criminal or wrongful acts of the New Jersey defendant employee, even if those acts occur outside the scope of employment, if the New Jersey defendant employer was negligent in the manner in which the New Jersey defendant employer hired, supervised or retained an inappropriate or unfit employee.

The New Jersey defendant employer in a business providing services to the public has a duty to use reasonable care in selecting competent and fit employees for the work assigned to them. The New Jersey defendant employer is also bound to refrain from retaining the services of an unfit employee. The focus of the tort of negligent hiring is on the risk the New Jersey defendant employer creates by exposing members of the public to a potentially dangerous individual. The New Jersey defendant employer may be negligent because he has reason to know that the servant or other agent, because of his qualities, is likely to harm others in view of the work or tools entrusted to him. Protection of innocent third persons is a major interest favoring a rule imposing a duty of reasonable care in the selection of employees or independent contractors who might have vicious propensities.

An unfit employee is one whose dangerous propensities make him or her inappropriate for a particular job assignment and who is likely to cause harm to the public if hired for that position. The New Jersey employee’s dangerous quality may consist of his incompetence or unskillfulness due to the New Jersey employee’s youth or the New Jersey employee’s lack of experience considered with reference to the act to be performed. A New Jersey employee, although otherwise competent, may be incompetent because of the New Jersey employee’s reckless or vicious disposition and if a New Jersey defendant employer, without exercising due care in selection, employs a vicious person to do an act which necessarily brings the New Jersey employee in contact with others while in the performance of a duty, the New Jersey defendant employer is subject to liability for harm caused by the vicious propensity.

HOW DOES A NEW JERSEY PLAINTIFF PROVE A NEW JERSEY NEGLIGENT HIRING CASE?
A New Jersey court may hold the New Jersey defendant employer liable for a New Jersey plaintiff’s injuries or damages if the New Jersey court find that the New Jersey defendant employer was negligent in failing to exercise due care in hiring, supervising or retaining an unfit individual and that such negligence was a proximate cause of a New Jersey plaintiff’s injuries or damages. To find that the New Jersey defendant employer failed to exercise reasonable care in hiring the New Jersey employee in question, the New Jersey court must find two things:
• the New Jersey defendant employer knew or had reason to know of the particular unfitness, incompetence or dangerous attributes of the New Jersey employee; and
• the New Jersey defendant employer could have reasonably foreseen that hiring a person with the New Jersey employee’s attributes created a risk of harm to others, whether on or off the premises.

The New Jersey defendant employer may be held liable if, during the hiring process or course of employment, the New Jersey defendant employer actually knew the New Jersey employee had an inappropriate or dangerous characteristic, attribute or tendency that made the New Jersey employee an unacceptable candidate for the position. The New Jersey defendant employer may also be held liable if reasonable investigation would have disclosed the New Jersey employee’s undesirable characteristic, attribute or tendency.

The New Jersey defendant employer may not be held responsible under a theory of negligent hiring, supervision or retention for criminal or other wrongful acts of its employee if in the exercise of reasonable care and diligence, a reasonable employer would not have ascertained the New Jersey employee’s incompetence, unfitness or dangerous propensities. In other words, the New Jersey defendant employer will not be liable in a New Jersey negligent hiring case if the New Jersey defendant employer took reasonable care and diligence in researching that individual’s background, references, and other relevant information. It is unlikely that a New Jersey negligent hiring case will be proven where the New Jersey defendant employer could not have reasonably foreseen the New Jersey employee would commit the harm or damages alleged by the New Jersey plaintiff.
In determining whether the New Jersey defendant employer exercised due care in this matter, the New Jersey court must examine all the circumstances surrounding the hiring and employment of the New Jersey employee. Since there is no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes an appropriate hiring process, the New Jersey court should consider all of the facts and circumstances of this particular case, including but not limited to:
• The New Jersey defendant employer’s application and interview process;
• The nature of the job;
• The checking of references;
• The nature and extent of information reasonably available to the New Jersey defendant employer at the time of hire, including access to public records of criminal or other convictions;
• Whether such information was available to the New Jersey defendant employer through reasonable, and not extraordinary means, including extraordinary cost;
• The nature of the criminal conviction, if any; and
• Whether the pre-hiring investigation of the New Jersey employee, if any, was adequate under the totality of the circumstances.

If the New Jersey court finds the New Jersey defendant employer knew or could have known of the New Jersey employee’s unfit characteristic, the New Jersey court must then decide whether the New Jersey defendant employer could have reasonably foreseen that such qualities created a risk of harm to others.

If a criminal history investigation is applicable to the New Jersey negligent hiring case, the New Jersey employee has an undisclosed and undiscovered criminal history which made the New Jersey employee unfit and dangerous for the duties of the position. Liability of the New Jersey defendant employer, though, is not predicated solely upon the New Jersey defendant employer’s failure to investigate the criminal history of the applicant. With regard to the criminal record of a candidate for employment, the New Jersey court must consider the totality of the circumstances, and specifically: (a) What investigation, if any, the New Jersey defendant employer could have legally taken; and (b) What information was reasonably available to the New Jersey defendant employer at the time of hire.

Foresight, not hindsight, is the standard by which the New Jersey defendant employer’s duty of care must be judged. The fact that one may look back now and decide the New Jersey employee was unfit does not satisfy this element of the claim. The New Jersey defendant employer must be judged on what [he] [she] [it] had reason to know at the time the New Jersey employee was hired or retained. In deciding if the New Jersey defendant employer knew or could have known about the New Jersey employee’s characteristic and should have foreseen it to be dangerous, a New Jersey court may take into consideration the following:
• The nature of the work;
• The extent to which the New Jersey employee would or would not be supervised;
• Whether the New Jersey employee would have access to the home and valuables of the public in general, and a New Jersey plaintiff in particular; and
• The particular vulnerability, if any, of members of the public to abuse, harm or other loss caused by exposure to a potentially unsuitable, incompetent or dangerous employee.

WHAT IS “PROXIMATE CAUSE” IN A NEW JERSEY NEGLIGENT HIRING CASE?
If the New Jersey court finds the New Jersey defendant employer was negligent in the manner in which the New Jersey defendant employer hired the New Jersey employee, the New Jersey defendant employer still will not be liable for a New Jersey plaintiff’s injury or damage unless the New Jersey Court also finds the New Jersey defendant employer’s negligence proximately caused a New Jersey plaintiff’s injury or damage. This means that, in order to find the New Jersey defendant employer liable, the New Jersey court must find that the New Jersey defendant employer’s negligence in hiring the unfit employee was a substantial factor that singly, or in combination with one or more other causes, brought about a New Jersey plaintiff’s injury or damage.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR NEW JERSEY CASE?
Handling your New Jersey case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!! Do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent New Jersey lawyer!
Let the Law Office of Paul DePetris help you with your New Jersey case. Not all New Jersey cases require you to pay expensive legal fees to get legal help.

WHY SHOULD NEW JERSEY PRO SE PLAINTIFFS AND NEW JERSEY PRO SE DEFENDANTS SEEK HELP FROM A NEW JERSEY LAWYER?
Handling your New Jersey case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!! Do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent New Jersey lawyer!
Many New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants make the mistake of not consulting a New Jersey lawyer before filing New Jersey Court papers only to later learn that the New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants made serious mistakes that could cause them to lose their New Jersey case. Let the Law Office of Paul DePetris help you with your New Jersey case.

CAN I RELY ON NEW JERSEY COURT PERSONNEL FOR LEGAL ADVICE?
New Jersey Court employees cannot give you “free” legal advice and a New Jersey Court judge may refuse to let you claim that you were right in taking an action (or in deciding not to take action) because you relied on advice from such employees. Most New Jersey Court employees are not trained New Jersey attorneys and therefore, they may not know what advice to give you. Working at the New Jersey Court as a non-judge is not the same as practicing law.

CAN I RELY ON NEW JERSEY COURT FORMS PROVIDED BY THE NEW JERSEY COURT?
The New Jersey Court usually provides certain types of New Jersey Court legal forms to the public and those forms are often very helpful. However, beware relying on New Jersey Court forms provided by the New Jersey Court – the New Jersey Court forms are often deceptively simple, while New Jersey cases often are much more complex than they first appear to be. There is simply no substitute for a competent New Jersey attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey who has experience handling New Jersey cases. New Jersey Court forms don’t talk and New Jersey Court forms and their directions rarely, if ever, cover every possible situation, set of facts or legal issue that may arise in a New Jersey case. Each New Jersey case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges. If you can afford a competent New Jersey attorney, it is best to have the New Jersey attorney prepare your New Jersey Court paperwork for you.

CAN I HANDLE A NEW JERSEY CASE MYSELF?
Many New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants can and do successfully handle New Jersey cases, from filing the first paperwork to the collection of a New Jersey Court judgment. However, many other New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants also make mistakes that lead to the dismissal of their New Jersey cases or that result in the entry of a New Jersey Court money judgment against them. The greater the money at stake, the greater the reason to consider using the services of a competent attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey to handle part or all of the New Jersey case. The following are reasons to use an attorney to handle part or all of your New Jersey case:
• New Jersey Court fees often change
• New Jersey Court rules often change
• New Jersey Court employees cannot give you “free” legal advice and a New Jersey Court judge may refuse to let you claim that you were right in taking an action (or in deciding not to take action) because you relied on advice from such employees
• New Jersey Court forms available on websites may not cover every situation you may face in Court
• each New Jersey case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges
• it is very common for New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants to file inadequate or incorrect New Jersey Court complaints that result in the New Jersey Court complaints or answers to New Jersey Court complaints being rejected by the New Jersey Court or being dismissed by the New Jersey Court after filing and before or after trial because of procedural deficiencies.
• it is not uncommon for judges to get very frustrated by an unrepresented party’s lack of preparation or ignorance of the facts or law of the New Jersey case.
• a Court has the power to punish unprepared New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants, such as by throwing their New Jersey case out of Court or limiting what they can present at the New Jersey Court trial.
• New Jersey has many published cases, laws, regulations, Court rules and rules of evidence that can be very tricky to understand and that can be used to prevent you from doing much of what you want to do at the New Jersey Court trial.
• it is very common for Courts to refuse to allow a party to use or refer to documents or items at the New Jersey Court trial that the person themselves never prepared. Often New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants stumble into New Jersey Court with a video, photograph, bill or affidavit or other form of written statement, thinking they are going to use it as proof that they lost money or that they are not responsible for someone else’s damages, only to have a New Jersey Court judge tell the New Jersey plaintiffs and New Jersey defendants that it is not going to even consider such items or documents.
• without the proper preparation, items and documents may never be considered by the New Jersey Court. Also, if there are any legal issues to be dealt with at the New Jersey Court trial, you must be prepared to argue them, which may require you to refer to Court rules, evidence rules, laws, regulations or published cases.
• you cannot show up at the New Jersey Court expecting the judge hearing your New Jersey case to explain Court rules, evidence rules, Court procedure or the details of the law that applies to your New Jersey case. The judge hearing your New Jersey case is not permitted to give you legal advice.

It is important to remember that even if you have an attorney, you could lose your New Jersey case. Hiring an attorney to handle part or all of your New Jersey case does not guarantee your success. However, it may provide what is needed to win your New Jersey case or to avoid certain mistakes.

DOES THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HAVE EXPERIENCE HANDLING NEW JERSEY CASES?
Yes. Paul DePetris has performed the following tasks:
• handled New Jersey cases for plaintiffs and defendants across New Jersey, from Bergen County New Jersey to Cumberland County New Jersey, including representations of individuals, small businesses and large corporations.
• settled New Jersey cases for plaintiffs and defendants across New Jersey.
• reviewed many New Jersey Court settlement agreements.
• enforced many New Jersey Court settlement agreements.
• provided New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants with New Jersey Court legal advice and prepared New Jersey Court legal forms
• prepared and filed many New Jersey Court complaints
• tried New Jersey Court jury trials
• mediated many New Jersey cases
• argued New Jersey Court motions
• handled New Jersey Court proof hearings
• handled New Jersey Court post judgment collection proceedings

Mr. DePetris has appeared before the Superior Court of New Jersey in the following counties:
• Atlantic County New Jersey Court
• Bergen County New Jersey Court
• Burlington County New Jersey Court
• Camden County New Jersey Court
• Cape May County New Jersey Court
• Cumberland County New Jersey Court
• Essex County New Jersey Court
• Gloucester County New Jersey Court
• Hudson County New Jersey Court
• Mercer County New Jersey Court
• Middlesex County New Jersey Court
• Monmouth County New Jersey Court
• Morris County New Jersey Court
• Ocean County New Jersey Court
• Passaic County New Jersey Court
• Salem County New Jersey Court
• Somerset County New Jersey Court
• Sussex County New Jersey Court
• Union County New Jersey Court
• Warren County New Jersey Court

IN WHAT NEW JERSEY COUNTIES WILL THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HANDLE NEW JERSEY CASES?
The Law Office of Paul DePetris offers to handle and help individuals and businesses with New Jersey Court Claims cases in North, Central and Southern New Jersey, including cases in the following New Jersey counties:
• Atlantic County New Jersey Court
• Bergen County New Jersey Court
• Burlington County New Jersey Court
• Camden County New Jersey Court
• Cape May County New Jersey Court
• Cumberland County New Jersey Court
• Essex County New Jersey Court
• Gloucester County New Jersey Court
• Hudson County New Jersey Court
• Mercer County New Jersey Court
• Middlesex County New Jersey Court
• Monmouth County New Jersey Court
• Morris County New Jersey Court
• Ocean County New Jersey Court
• Passaic County New Jersey Court
• Salem County New Jersey Court
• Somerset County New Jersey Court
• Sussex County New Jersey Court
• Union County New Jersey Court
• Warren County New Jersey Court

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO HANDLE MY NEW JERSEY CASE FROM BEGINNING TO END?
In many situations, the Law Office of Paul DePetris offers alternatives to handling New Jersey cases for an hourly fee, such as by offering to handle your New Jersey case up to trial for a fixed fee or to help you handle your New Jersey case by yourself. Such flexible methods may allow you to keep the amount legal fees you spend on your New Jersey case to a fixed sum, while providing you the help you need to handle your New Jersey case. For a no obligation phone consultation about what the Firm might be able to do for you, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris.
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