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Seventh Circuit Requires Trial of Respondeat Superior Claim Over Sexual Assault

In Zander v. Orlich, No. 17-2792, (7th Cir. Oct. 30, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided how to construe and apply Indiana state tort law regarding vicarious liability.  The plaintiff in Zander was sexually assaulted by Lake County Indiana Deputy Sheriff Orlich.

When Deputy Sheriff Orlich responded to a domestic disturbance call placed by Zander's husband, he directed Zander to leave the home where the disturbance was occurring and to stay at her second home. Orlich received permission from his supervising officer to take Zander to her second home, but the home's electric panel was dismantled in addition to a host of other problems. After Orlich turned on the electricity and water heater, he tried and failed to fix the furnace. While attempting to perform repairs, Orlich told Zander that she could not return to her home for several hours. Orlich then left Zander, but 10 to 15 minutes later he returned to where Zander was staying, removed his uniform, and sexually assaulted Zander.  More ›

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