Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Doe v. P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

August 29, 2017

JANE DOE, ET AL.
v.
P.F. CHANG'S CHINA BISTRO INC., ET AL.

          April 25, 2017 Session

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-003016-11, CT-004140-11 Donna M. Fields, Judge

         This interlocutory appeal arises out of a tort action brought by a restaurant manager against her employer for injuries she received during the course of a robbery and rape by a cook at the restaurant where both were employed. The employer moved for summary judgment, contending that the workers' compensation law provided the exclusive remedy for the employee. The trial court denied the motion, holding that the injuries the employee sustained did not arise out of the employment. Upon review, we affirm the denial of summary judgment and remand the case for further proceedings.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 9 Interlocutory Appeal; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed;Case Remanded

          Glen G. Reid, Jr. and Kathryn K. Van Namen, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc.

          Gary K. Smith and Karen M. Campbell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jane Doe and John Doe.

          Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Arnold B. Goldin and Kenny W. Armstrong, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         Plaintiff Jane Doe worked as a hospitality manager at P.F. Chang's China Bistro in Memphis. Close to midnight on the night of September 12, 2010, she was in the restaurant's office performing closing procedures with the door to the office locked. Ms.Doe answered a knock at the door, and a masked man entered brandishing a gun. The man directed her to sit in a chair, where he put tape on her face and asked for the code to the safe; he proceeded to open the safe and take out the money. He then instructed Ms. Doe to move to another chair, where he tied her arms to the sides of the chair, tied her legs, and put more tape on her face. He then put the money from the safe into a bag, came to the chair where Ms. Doe was restrained, removed her clothes, and proceeded to rape her. The man was later determined to be Jorge Ricardo Rojas-Morin, an employee of the restaurant, who had been at work that evening and, after getting off work, had jammed the emergency door to prevent it from closing, gone to his vehicle to change clothes, returned to the restaurant, and committed the crimes.

         Jane Doe and her husband ("Mr. and Mrs. Doe") filed a complaint on June 24, 2011, against P.F. Chang's and Rojas-Morin for the injuries she sustained.[1] The complaint asserted causes of action against both defendants for intentional infliction of emotional distress, outrageous conduct, [2] negligent infliction of emotional distress, and loss of consortium. As to P.F. Chang's, the complaint asserted causes of action for negligence, gross negligence, negligent hiring, intentional misrepresentation, misrepresentation by concealment, vicarious liability, and constructive discharge. The complaint asserted causes of action against Rojas-Morin for false imprisonment, sexual assault, and assault and battery. Mr. and Mrs. Doe sought damages for physical and emotional pain and suffering; physical disfigurement; medical bills and expenses; loss of enjoyment of life; and lost wages and loss of earning capacity.

         P.F. Chang's moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the claims were barred by the exclusive remedy provision of the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act at Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-108(a). The trial court denied the motion, holding that "beating, rape, humiliation, and violation of an individual's dignity and self- esteem are not risks inherent to the Plaintiff's work environment at P.F. Chang's China Bistro."

         Thereafter, P.F. Chang's answered the complaint, admitting some factual allegations and denying others, denying liability, and asserting numerous affirmative defenses, including that the "claims are barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Tennessee Worker's Compensation Act." After engaging in discovery, P.F. Chang's moved for summary judgment, arguing:

Because Plaintiffs' claims arose out of and in the course of her employment, workers' compensation is Plaintiffs' exclusive remedy against P.F. Chang's. All relevant discovery has been completed in this case, and it is clear that Jane Doe was performing managerial tasks on the premises of the restaurant when she was assaulted by a fellow employee. The incident was not based on personal spite, ill will, hatred, or anger toward Jane Doe, nor is there any evidence of actual intent to injure Plaintiffs. Further, applicable law is clear that rape in the workplace is exclusively covered by workers' compensation.

         In support of the motion, P.F. Chang's filed a statement of eight undisputed facts, each of which was culled from the complaint. The Plaintiffs responded, disputing two of the statements of fact. First, as to the statement that "'After he obtained the money, [the assailant] raped Jane Doe' in the office at the restaurant, " Plaintiffs responded by stating "Disputed as stated, " and setting forth additional details of the rape. As to the statement that "Jane Doe was physically injured during the course of the rape and robbery, " Plaintiffs responded by stating "Disputed as stated, " and asserting that Jane Doe was injured emotionally as well as physically.[3] Plaintiffs also filed a statement of 21 additional undisputed facts in opposition to the motion, taken from the depositions of P.F. Chang's corporate representative Art Kilmer, Jane Doe, and John Doe, which Plaintiffs contended "are material to the issues and create genuine issues of material fact." In its response, P.F. Chang's disputed all of the additional statements as "immaterial to the issues presented in P.F. Chang's Motion for Summary Judgment."

After a hearing, the trial court denied the motion, holding:
[T]his Court finds that Defendant P F. Chang's is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law because there is at least a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the rape and sexual assault in this case can be deemed to have arisen out of Doe's employment, and for all of the reasons stated above, this Court specifically finds that the rape and sexual assault in this case did not arise out of Doe's employment. For this reason, the Plaintiffs' claims would not be compensable in this case under Tennessee's Workers' Compensation Law and the exclusive remedy provision of the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act does not bar this action in tort.

         P.F. Chang's moved for permission to appeal in accordance with Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure and to stay the action; the trial court granted the motion. This Court granted P.F. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.