Monday, May 02, 2005

Curious armed guard story

In Jordan v. Western Distributing Co., the Fourth Circuit in a per curiam opinion for the panel of Judges Michael and Duncan and District Judge Stamp held, among other things, that the defendant employer was not liable for the conduct of its two employees.

The facts were these:

"Ronnie G. Sasser, Jr. (“Sasser”) and Stephen Philip Meininger (“Meininger”), while transporting currency in an armored vehicle pursuant to their duties as drivers and security guards for Western Distributing Company (“Western”) and its subsidiary, United States Armored Company, allegedly attempted to “cut off and to force
[Lloyd Jordan’s] vehicle off the road on numerous occasions.” Compl. ¶ 11. During the incident, Meininger also allegedly leaned out of the passenger window and repeatedly aimed a sawed-off shotgun at Jordan and threatened to “blow off” Jordan’s head. Id.

The Maryland State Police subsequently stopped and arrested Sasser and Meininger. Sasser was charged with possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed weapon without a proper permit. Meininger was charged with first degree assault of Jordan, second degree assault of Jordan, concealment of a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled, dangerous substance, and possession of paraphernalia. Sasser pleaded guilty to the marijuana charge and the State dismissed the weapon charge against him. A jury convicted Meininger of first degree assault against Jordan and possession of a controlled, dangerous substance."

So, now we know, armored vehicle drivers threatening people on the interstate with sawed-off shotguns are not acting outside the scope of their employment, at least in Maryland.

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