Law Dictionary

respondeat superior

noun re·spon·de·at superior \ri-ˈspän-dē-ət-\

Legal Definition of respondeat superior

  1. :  a doctrine in tort law that makes a master liable for the wrong of a servant; specifically :  the doctrine making an employer or principal liable for the wrong of an employee or agent if it was committed within the scope of employment or agency to recover…upon a theory of respondeat superior, it is incumbent upon plaintiff to prove that the collision occurred while the driver was within the scope of his employment — Perdue v. Mitchell, 373 So. 2d 650 (1979) — compare scope of employment, vicarious liability at liability 2b

Origin and Etymology of respondeat superior

Medieval Latin, let the superior give answer

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a brief usually trivial fact

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