A settlement has been reached in the wrongful death lawsuit of an Alabama woman. Jennifer Hampton was tragically murdered in her room at the Days Inn on Lovell Road in West Knoxville, Tennessee in September of 2008. According to a report, a hotel employee was indicted and charged with the rape and murder. The report does not disclose the exact settlement amount but reports it was more than $10 million dollars.
Since this horrific act occurred in Knoxville – Tennessee and not Alabama law would apply. If this had occurred in Alabama, Alabama’s wrongful death statute would apply and the only damages that would be recoverable would be punitive damages. Further, Alabama’s case law on the criminal act of a third party would apply. This law essentially states that a person or entity is not typically liable for the criminal acts of a third party. I.E. a business would not typically be liable for the criminal acts of their employee unless they were on notice of this employee’s dangerous propensity and failed to take the proper measures to remedy the situation. Horrific events such as this one are a perfect example of why employers should be held responsible if they fail to do a proper investigation and background check when they hire new employees.