Court: Louisiana Cab Company President Not Liable in Death Case

May 23, 2012

A court has ruled that the head of a Bossier City, La., taxi cab business cannot be held personally liable in a lawsuit over the death of a 12-year-old boy.

The victim in the case was Justin Bloxom, whose body was found two years ago in DeSoto Parish.

Cab driver Brian Horn was charged with first-degree murder in the case.

Prosecutors say Bloxom was lured to a meeting by someone posing as a young girl in cellphone text messages.

A lawsuit filed by Bloxom’s mother includes David McFarlin, president of a taxi company, as a defendant.

It says McFarlin, president of Blue Phoenix Trading Co., the parent company of Action Taxi, hired Horn even though he knew from his driver’s license that he was a convicted sex offender.

The state 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that McFarlin cannot be held personally liable in the lawsuit.

Other defendants include the taxi cab corporation, city of Shreveport, Hallmark Insurance Co. of Texas and Horn.

The three-judge 2nd Circuit panel, with Judge D. Milton Moore, of Monroe, writing the opinion, said District Judge Robert Burgess properly found that Justin Bloxom’s “tragic injury and death fell outside the scope of McFarlin’s duty or reasonable care in hiring drivers for his corporation.”

The appellate judges said the “crux of the case is the scope of protection element: was this particular risk too remote from McFarlin’s personal conduct?” The nature of the corporate structure makes courts hesitant to impose personal liability on officers for their corporate acts, the ruling states, according to a summary of the ruling in The Times of Shreveport.

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