Thomas Neuhengen was injured in a forklift accident allegedly caused by Frederick Neirinckx, a Global Experience Specialists employee. The judgment was entered in the amount of $12,228,068 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages for Neuhengen. Global Experience appealed from that judgment.
Global Experience argued that the trial judge erred in refusing to dismiss Count III of the plaintiff’s complaint, which provided the predicate for the exemplary award for alleging willful and wanton conduct in hiring and training Neirinckx because Global Experience stipulated, before trial, that it would be vicariously liable for any negligent or careless conduct by Neirinckx.
In the appeal, Global Experience relied on the case of Neff v. Davenport Packing Co., 131 Ill.App.2d 791 (1971). In cases in which a complaint alleges negligence by an employee along with vicarious liability for that negligence against the employer, Neff calls for dismissing the negligence claims against the corporation if it admits liability for the employee’s conduct.