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Satellite-TV provider DirecTV is being sued for allegedly bringing a registered sex offender into a customer's house during a service call.
Wahren Scott Massey has been a registered sex offender in Texas since 1998, but in 2012 he accompanied a DirecTV subcontractor into a customer's house during a service call. According to Dallas-Fort Worth's WFAA-TV, Massey was left in a room with the customer's 12-year-old daughter, who caught him snapping photos of her on his cell phone.
Massey was arrested, pleaded guilty to a pair of crimes, and is now in prison. So what liability is DirecTV potentially facing over this sex offender incident?
Suit to Hold DirecTV Accountable
According to WFAA, Massey is serving four years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted indecency with a child and attempted sexual performance of a child.
Now the family's legal gaze has shifted to DirecTV in the form of a civil lawsuit, seeking up to $200,000 in damages. As their attorney Rob Crain told WFAA: "This is a public safety concern. This is a danger no one wants coming into their home."
While news reports don't mention what causes of action the family is pressing in its suit, there are some common ways to try to hold companies legally accountable for workers' conduct. These include claims of:
Liability for a Subcontractor's Actions?
But here's a potential problem: Neither Massey nor the subcontractor are DirecTV employees. Typically, employers can be held liable for the negligence of their employees, but the man whom Massey accompanied was actually a contract worker for MasTec Advanced Technologies.
While DirecTV told WFAA that Massey had "no affiliation with DirecTV whatsoever," the company did note that "contractors and subcontractors are required to complete a background check before being allowed to perform any installation services." Since Texas is more conservative about hiring anyone with a criminal record, it stands to reason that Massey may not have been employed by either company.
The family's claims against DirecTV may then rely on whether the company is liable for the actions of a subcontracting installer. MasTec told WFAA that it is reviewing the filing with its attorneys.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.