The Guide is an invaluable online tool for litigation and transactional attorneys. The Guide provides for more than 70 common law causes of action:

- Each action’s elements;
- The most recent state and federal cases that cite the actions’ elements;
- The applicable statute of limitations for each action; and
- Defenses to each cause of action.
- AND, The Guide is updated annually.

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Negligent Hiring, Supervision and Retention

1 Elements and Case Citations

“California case law recognizes the theory that an employer can be liable to a third person for negligently hiring, supervising, or retaining an unfit employee. . . . Liability is based upon the facts that the employer knew or should have known that hiring the employee created a particular risk or hazard and that particular harm materializes”

Doe v. Capital Cities, 50 Cal. App. 4th 1038, 1054 (1996).

“Liability for negligent ... retention of an employee is one of direct liability for negligence, not vicarious liability.” Delfino v. Agilent Techs., Inc., 145 Cal. App. 4th 790, 815 (2006),

Restatement Second of Agency § 213.

Restatement Third of Agency § 7.05 (“A principal who conducts an activity through an agent is subject to liability for harm to a third party caused by the agent's conduct if the harm was caused by the principal’s negligence in selecting, training, retaining, supervising, or otherwise controlling the agent.”) (cited with approval in Phillips v. TLC Plumbing, Inc., 172 Cal. App. 4th 1133, 1140 (2009)).

The claims sometimes includes allegations of negligent training. See, e.g., Delgado v. Trax Bar & Grill, 36 Cal. 4th 224, 240 n.21 (2005) (noting in dicta that where “a proprietor is legally obligated to provide guards to protect the safety of its patrons—the proprietor might be held vicariously liable for the ensuing negligence of its guard . . ., or for its own negligence in selecting, training, supervising, or retaining the guard”).


Supreme Court of California: C.A. v. William S. Hart Union High School Dist., 53 Cal. 4th 861, 875 (2012).

California 1st District: Juarez v. Boy Scouts of America, Inc., 81 Cal. App. 4th 377, 395 (2000).

California 2d District: Doe v. Capital Cities, 50 Cal. App. 4th 1038, 1054 (1996).

California 3d District: Federico v. Superior Court, 59 Cal. App. 4th 1207, 1213-14 (1997).

California 4th District: Phillips v. TLC Plumbing, Inc., 172 Cal. App. 4th 1133, 1139-40 (2009); Roman Catholic Bishop v. Superior Court, 42 Cal. App. 4th 1556, 1564-65 (1996).

California 5th District: None.

California 6th District: Delfino v. Agilent Technologies, Inc., 145 Cal. App. 4th 790, 815 (2006).


United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit: Webb v. Olive Garden Italian Restaurants/Darden Rests., 424 Fed. Appx. 660, 661 (9th Cir. 2011); Batista v. Stewart Enters., 126 Fed. Appx. 767, 771 (9th Cir. 2005); Willis v. City of L.A., 57 Fed. Appx. 283, 288 (9th Cir. 2002).

Central District: Jhaveri v. ADT Sec. Serv., No. 2:11-cv-4426-JHN-MANx, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38100, at *7-8 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 6, 2012); United States v. Sequel Contractors, Inc., 402 F. Supp. 2d 1142, 1155 (C.D. Cal. 2005).

Eastern District: Grimes v. Biter, No. 1:13cv00393 DLB PC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142151, at *7 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 30, 2013); Fisher v. City of Modesto, No. 1:10-cv-01029 OWW JLT, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20494, at *8-9 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 2, 2011).

Northern District: Pickard v. Holton, No. 12-cv-01489-JST, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132202 at *22-23 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 16, 2013); Jackson v. Silicon Valley Animal Control Auth., No. C 07-5667 RS, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98521, at *13 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 5, 2008).

Southern District: In re Zora Analytics, LLC, No. 3:13-CV-639-JM (WMC), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128489, at *19-20 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 9, 2013).

2 Issues and Defenses to Claim for Negligent Hiring, Supervision & Retention

(1) Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 431.30(b)(2) (pleading affirmative defenses), and other standard defenses. See Chapter 1 for all defenses.

(2) Statute of Limitations: Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 335.1 (two years).

(3) Standard of Care: “The fact that the agent is ‘incompetent, vicious, or careless’ is insufficient to establish direct liability of the principal.” Campbell v. Feld Enertainment, Inc., Nos. 12-CV-4233-LHK,13-CV-0233-LHK, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145495, at *29-30 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 4, ,2013).

(4) School Liability: Students can hold schools liable for negligent supervision. M. W. v. Panama Buena Vista Union School Dist., 110 Cal. App. 4th 508, 518 (2003).

(5) See Affirmative Defenses re Negligence, Ch. 48.