Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff, Dan Lind, sought recovery for lost wages and moving expenses from his employer-Defendant, Schenley Industries, Inc., when Defendant did not honor a salary agreement between Plaintiff and his immediate supervisor.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Apparent authority arises when “a principal acts in such a manner as to convey the impression to a third party that an agent has certain powers which he may or may not actually possess,” and damages arising from this relationship are most likely available when a third person changes his position in reliance on the manifestation of this authority.
In making this determination, the trial judge should consider the overall setting of the trial, the character of the evidence, and the complexity or simplicity of the legal principles which the jury had to apply to the facts.View Full Point of Law
Issue. The issue is whether Kaufman had an apparent authority to approve a salary increase that Plaintiff could rely upon.
Held. There was enough evidence for a jury to conclude that an agency relationship was established that gave Kaufman the apparent authority to restructure Plaintiff’s salary. The vice-president told Plaintiff to see Kaufman concerning his salary, and Kaufman was Plaintiff’s direct supervisor and acted as an unofficial spokesman for the company when dealing with Plaintiff. Further, there was evidence that the vice-president agreed to the commission and salary structure. Plaintiff was also allowed to receive moving expenses because it was proper to rely upon the administrative assistant because Plaintiff could not be expected to verify with the vice-president every decision made by others.
Dissent. The dissent agrees with reversing the trial judge, but believed that a new trial should have been ordered.
There was enough evidence to establish inherent authority because the vice-president instructed Plaintiff to see Kaufman for salary issues. The court elaborated further on why apparent authority existed, and noted that facts could support both.