Sexual Misconduct Claim Not Imputed Under Respondeat Superior

In Singh v. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center et al, 2019 WL 6977106 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 20, 2019), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s claims of civil battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress as against various entities, finding that the doctrine of respondeat did not apply.

From the decision:

These two causes of action concern allegations of Pillarsetty’s “unwanted sexual contact” with Plaintiff, (Am. Compl. ¶ 98), as well as his “repeated, unrelenting and escalating sexual harassment” of Plaintiff, (id. ¶ 104). Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer may be vicariously liable for the actions of an employee only where the acts in question are “committed in furtherance of the employer’s business and within the scope of employment.” N.X. v. Cabrini Med. Ctr., 97 N.Y.2d 247, 251 (2002). New York courts have consistently held that sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, are “a clear departure from the scope of employment” and are “committed for wholly personal motives.” Kovalchik v. City of New York, No. 09 Civ. 4546 (RA), 2014 WL 4652478, at *10 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 18, 2014) (quoting Cabrini, 97 N.Y.2d at 251). Because Pillarsetty’s alleged sexual misconduct was neither committed in furtherance of MSKCC’s, SKI’s, or Larson’s business, nor was it within the scope of Pillarsetty’s employment, Plaintiff’s claims against MSKCC, SKI, and Larson for civil battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress are dismissed.

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