Case Analysis on Master Tort
What is a Tort?
A tort is a civil wrong. A civil wrong is nothing but violation of a person’s rights. The law of tort signifies a contravention of greater varieties of rights and duties. It is based on common law of England, which is unwritten and uncodified. The law of tort is also an ever-growing law, and the courts are expanding its horizon continuously by recognizing new torts.
What is Master Tort?
Generally, a man is held liable and is punished accordingly for an unlawful act committed by him. However, there are certain instances where a person is held liable for a crime committed by another. The same is based according to an old doctrine, which is based on the legal maxim “Qui Facit Par Alium Facit Per Se” which means that “a person who does an act through another is deemed in law to do it himself”. A master is liable for the torts of his servant on the basis of this doctrine. A person who gets his work done through another is liable for all the consequences from that act. The master is liable for all such acts of his servant which he does in the course of his employment, as the master is capable of meeting the liability. Another legal maxim “Respondent Superior” means that the superior must be liable for all such acts of his servants which he does in the course of employment, as the master is capable of meeting the liability. 
The master tort rule makes an employer (master) be held responsible or vicariously liable for the actions of his employee (servant). The word “vicarious liability” means delegated. Thus, the phrase “vicarious liability,” means the liability of a person for the tort of another. However, determining whether an employer is found liable for an employee’s actions depends largely on whether the employee’s wrongdoing was part of doing the job for the employer or whether the employee was acting out of their own personal interests.
Illustration: “A”, is a driver who works for “B” and while driving B’s car for taking him to his office, he hits “C”, a pedestrian due to his negligence in driving. In such a case even though B was not driving the car he will still be liable for the accident which was caused due to the negligence of A.
- In the case of Gregory v. Piper (1829) 9 B & C 591, the defendant and plaintiff had some disputes between them and the defendant, therefore, ordered his servant to place rubbish across a pathway to prevent the plaintiff from proceeding on that way and the servant took all care to ensure that no part of it was touching the part of the plaintiff’s property but with the passage of some time. The rubbish slid down and touched the walls of the plaintiff and thus he sued for trespass. The defendant was held liable despite his servant taking all due care.
- In the case of Wright v. Wilcox, a small boy attempted to climb on an ice wagon driven by the defendant’s servant. The servant, seeing the boy’s attempt, whipped the horses into a trot, causing the boy to be thrown off under a wheel. The US Supreme Court ruled that the master was not responsible since the servant had apparently acted by design. It further held that, “the dividing line is the willfulness of the act and that to be responsible “it must be proved that he [the master] actually assented, for the law will not imply assent.” Thus, only where express authority to commit the willful act existed-an express order to injure could the master be held liable.
- In the case of Callaghan v. Harvey, an innkeeper was held responsible for the unwarranted and unauthorized act of a menial servant who had a guest arrested for allegedly cutting a towel off of a hook. The court rested liability on the innkeeper’s duty to provide safe premises for his guests and said that the employer must be responsible for the wrongful act of his servant in violating the duty the hotel owed to the guest.
- In another US Supreme Court case held in Ashcroft vs. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), that government officials could not be held liable for the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under a theory of Respondent Superior.
Each tort cases are unique in nature. Tort lawyers usually come into picture when somebody’s right are being infringed. They help in providing compensation or damages that is in monetary form to the victims so suffered and assist them through the taxing legal procedures. They have a critical role in the complex legal system and serve as a backbone in improving the justice system.
Attorneys evaluate each individual case and get familiar with the ever-growing law. They further act as an activist for their clients in and out of courtrooms and make tactical choices on behalf of their clients and for the best outcome possible in a case. They make right out of a wrong.
 LAW OF TORTS WITH CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT AND MOTOR VEHICLES ACT, DR. J. N. PANDEY, CENTRAL LAW PUBLICATIONS, 9th Edition, 2014, Allahabad.  Ibid.  Ibid 1.  https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/master-servant-rule.asp  https://blog.ipleaders.in/vicarious-liability-case-master-servant-relationship-tort-law/  https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2059&context=cklawreview&httpsredir=1&referer=  Ibid.  Wikipedia.
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