Spa Sued After Worker Inappropriately Touched Customers
Two women have filed a lawsuit against the Hand and Stone Spa in Fort Myers. The women say that they were sexually battered by the same employee who touched them in inappropriate areas and pressed his genitals into the women. Both women claim that Joshua Lowman, 37, sexually assaulted them under the pretense of providing them with a massage. A similar complaint had been filed against Lowman at his last job.
The two lawsuits accuse the spa of negligently hiring a sexual predator, failing to perform due diligence on their recent hire, and exposing their customers to avoidable danger. The two women are demanding a jury trial and an award of greater than $1 million.
Hand and Stone Spa’s Defense
They don’t really have a defense to these charges as no defense would be possible. They hired an employee with a record of committing sexual assault on customers and then the employee committed sexual assault on customers. The spa argues that sexual assault was not within the employee’s job description and so they are not liable, but that argument won’t work because it was their negligence that exposed their customers to a sexual predator. The is also denying that any sexual battery occurred.
To sum the spa’s argument: Our employee did not sexually batter two different women on the same day, but even if he did, we’re not liable because we don’t provide sexual battery services to our customers. Well, neither do nursing homes, but you don’t see them using those arguments to defend themselves from claims that their employees abused residents. Why? Because it’s a nonsense argument that anyone with an iota of common sense would immediately see through. Further, it was the spa’s failure to conduct a background check on their recent hire that exposed their customers to danger.
A request for comment from the spa yielded the news that the spa was a franchisee and that the location from which reporters were attempting to elicit a comment has nothing to do with the other location. The question then becomes: Is the franchise liable for the negligent hiring of one of its franchisees? As an example, if you slip and fall at Burger King, do you sue Burger King the corporation, or the individual Burger King?
Since franchisees are independently owned and operated, they are treated as individual businesses. They have their own liability insurance and just about everything else. A plaintiff would need to come up with a good reason for filing the lawsuit against the franchise rather than the franchisee. Essentially, the plaintiff would need to prove that franchise policy directly led to the injury, not the conduct of one of the franchise outlets.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured by the negligent or malicious conduct of a business, call the Miami personal injury attorneys at Payer Law today to schedule a free consultation and allow us to begin building your case immediately.