Teddy Thief was running down Main Street in the City of Nirvana being chased by the victim of the robbery and a group of concerned citizens. Teddy, armed with a pistol, jumped into a parked taxi cab (what people use to ride in before Uber and Lyft) owned by Louie De Palma Taxi Company. He ordered the driver, Latka, to drive pointing the gun at him. Latke proceeded about 15 feet and then quickly jammed on his brakes, threw his car out of drive and into reverse, and engaged the emergency brake. Although he knew the car engine was still running, Latke swung open his driver-side door jumping out of the vehicle. Apparently, the car’s emergency brake failed and his effort to throw it into reverse did not succeed, so the car kept proceeding straight in the drive gear. When the police eventually questioned Latke, he stated that he jammed on the brakes and emergency brake and threw the car’s gears into reverse intending to throw Teddy Thief off-balance who was half-sitting and half-standing in the back seat of the taxi cab holding his pistol menacingly at Latka’s head.
Ms. Bystander and her two children, Spanky and Alfalfa, were standing on the adjacent sidewalk and, unfortunately for them, right into the path of the now driverless taxi cab from which Latke had jumped out. Ms. Bystander sued Louie De Palma Taxi Company and the driver, Latke, claiming the driver, Latke, acted negligently in jumping to safety and leaving the moving taxi cab uncontrolled. (Presume that in the jurisdiction where this occurred, the law makes a company responsible for the acts of its employees – whether intentional or unintentional/careless. Thus, for purposes of this assignment, the taxi cab company and its driver are responsible or not as one entity/person). Analyze under negligence principles whether or not Ms. Bystander’s negligence lawsuit will prevail against the taxi cab company and Latke?
If so, why and how so?
if not, why not?