Employer Responsible For Employee’s Theft of Confidential Info

A man could hold an insurance agency responsible after an employee with an arrest record allegedly took his contact information from a confidential database and shared it with her boyfriend, who used it to intimidate him, the Massachusetts Appeals Court recently ruled. Two years before the incident, the employee, Danielle Burgos, had faced federal weapons charges that were resolved without a conviction after she completed a diversion program. At that time she had been working for a car insurance agency for several years, and she continued to work for the company afterward. At some point, the employee’s boyfriend, Daniel Thomas, was fleeing from the police in her vehicle and hit the vehicle of a man named Michael Adams. Afterward, Burgos used her employee access to access her own insurer’s database and discovered Adams had filed a claim. She then apparently shared Adams’s contact information with her boyfriend, who called Adams and made violent threats in an effort to get him to drop the claim. When the agency discovered what Burgos had done, it fired her. But Adams sued the agency for negligently hiring and retaining her and failing to properly supervise her. A lower court judge tossed out his claim, ruling that the particular crime Burgos had been charged with (and for which she was never convicted) shouldn’t have suggested to her employer that she was unfit to handle sensitive, confidential information. But the Appeals Court reversed, finding that the employer’s failure to investigate Burgos’s assurances that the federal charges were just a misunderstanding that wouldn’t affect her ability to do her job should have been enough to allow Adams’s lawsuit to go to a jury.

About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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