History of the case: At trial court they directed a verdit for Dean Witter on issues of Vicarious liability. They found Dean Witter is 15% liable and found Millan is 85% responsible. After Millan appeal the court's decision, the court of appeals also upheld the jury verdict that Dean Witter was only 15% responsible. Overall decision of the case was in favor of Dean Witter.
The facts: Millan son was her broker at Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc. He forged her signature on an account application form and open an additional account in her name. Dean Witter did not verify Millan's signature, as it policy required. Miguel took Millan periodic deposits, and deposited them into the account that he opened and wrote himself checks from the account. Miguel forged a check he stole from his mother's checkbook and made it payable to "cash" in the amount of $35,000. Disregarding Dean Witter written policy, a Dean Witter supervisor did not verify the check despite the high amount, the payment to "cash" and the concerns of a Dean Witter employee who first handled the check.
The plaintiff's theory: Millan feels that she is right, because the money was stolen from her and Dean Witter did not verify things like they were suppose to and they just allowed her son to forge her signature and withdraw money from her account on many different occassions.The defendant's theory: Dean Witter feel that they are right, because they were not the ones that took the money. It was Millan son and they had nothing to do with it.The legal issue: Should Dean Witter be held liable for its employee's fraud?The holding of the court: Yes, but only for 15% of it.What do you think? Was this case decided correctly? I think that Dean Witter should have been held responsible for more than 15%.
It was kind of their fault that everything happen. If they would have verified the signatures and saw that it was two different signatures, then all of this could have been avoided. Since they didnt, they allowed for Millan son to get away with over $200,000 before even noticing anything. Millan should also be to blame a little, because she should have notice money like that being missing from her account.
She should have been paying more attention to her accounts and seeing what was going on.