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Thatcher v. Brennan
United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
657 F. Supp. 6 (1986)
Walter Thatcher (plaintiff) filed a lawsuit against Mead Johnson and Company (Mead) and Bert Brennan (defendants) arising out of an altercation between Thatcher and Brennan that occurred in May 1984 in Jackson, Mississippi. Mead had employed Brennan as a medical-sales specialist since February 1982. On the day of the incident, Brennan made some sales calls near his home in Louisiana and then drove to Jackson in a company car provided by Mead due to the travel requirements of Brennan’s job. Brennan checked into a hotel, where he completed some paperwork for Mead, and then drove to a post office to mail it. On his way back to the hotel, Brennan turned in front of a vehicle operated by Thatcher, and the two had a disagreement from their respective vehicles that continued until they stopped their cars and had a physical altercation in a parking lot. Before hiring Brennan, Mead had him take a personality-inventory test and an adaptability test. According to Mead’s personnel department, the tests showed that Brennan had the potential to be moody, opinionated, and headstrong, and that he was a person of high aggression. The tests also indicated that Brennan’s profile was different from that of a typical salesperson, and that Brennan appeared to be undergoing significant emotional stress and turmoil. Thatcher asserted a claim against Mead for negligent hiring of Brennan based solely on the test results. There was no evidence of any other incident, before or after Brennan’s hiring, that suggested that Brennan was a violent person. Mead filed a motion for summary judgment and, for purposes of the motion, did not dispute that Brennan initiated the fight without provocation from Thatcher.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lee, J.)
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