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Legal Memorandum: Entity's Duty to Follow Established Procedures

Issue: What is a business’s or other entity’s duty to follow its established procedures, for purposes of a negligence action?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Business's or other entity's duty; Negligence action
Jurisdiction: Ohio
Cited Cases: 979 A.2d 760; 694 N.E.2d 313; 882 So. 2d 928; 361 Ark. 209; 205 S.W.3d 741; 291 S.W.3d 622; 708 N.W.2d 475; 707 N.W.2d 669; 683 P.2d 805
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2010

In researching the question of whether a business or other entity that has adopted a policy must follow that policy, no Ohio law was found specifically on point, but the following cases were located:

  • Thompson v. City of Minneapolis, 707 N.W.2d 669 (Minn. 2006) (adoption of a policy regarding vehicular pursuits created a ministerial duty to the public to follow that policy)
  • Mumm v. Mornson, 708 N.W.2d 475 (Minn. 2006) (same)

Note that these cases appear to be against the weight of authority nationwide.  Research found numerous cases holding that adoption of a policy does not create a duty to implement and follow that policy.  Some examples of those cases are the following:

  • Everitt v. General Electric Co., 159 N.H. 232, 979 A.2d 760 (2009) (mere existence of an internal policy setting forth procedures to deal with an impaired employee does not, standing alone, create a duty of care to the public at large).
  • Morgan v. Scott, 291 S.W.3d 622 (Ky. 2009) […]