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Trahan-Laroche v. Lockheed Sanders, Inc.

New Hampshire Supreme Court
657 A.2d 417 (1995)


Facts

Rita Trahan-Laroche and Lucien Laroche (plaintiffs) were injured when a flatbed trailer separated from a pickup truck driven and owned by Patrick Maimone and crashed into their vehicle as they followed from behind. One of Maimone’s tasks as an employee of Lockheed Sanders, Inc. (Lockheed) (defendant) was to hay the fields at the company’s various facilities. Maimone provided most of the equipment used in the process which he towed to the locations using his own truck and trailer. Lockheed did not compensate Maimone for the use of the equipment or the time spent transporting it, but did pay him his normal wages while haying the field and additionally allowed Maimone to keep any hay he removed. Prior to the day of the accident, Maimone finished haying the fields at a Lockheed facility but did not remove the trailer or all of the farming equipment. After work, but before leaving Lockheed’s premises, Maimone hitched his trailer to his truck for use in transporting hay from his farm to the Agway store to sell that evening. Maimone planned to return the trailer to remove the remaining farm machinery. The trailer separated from the truck during the drive from the Lockheed facility to Maimone’s farm. Plaintiffs filed suit against Lockheed under theories of respondeat superior and negligent supervision and claimed Maimone was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident. Alternatively, plaintiffs argued that while on Lockheed’s premises and under the company’s supervision and control, Maimone negligently attached his trailer and used inadequate safety chains in violation of the common law and state law. Lockheed moved for summary judgment, arguing that plaintiffs failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The trial court agreed and granted Lockheed’s motion. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Horton, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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