Beardsley, Jensen and Von Wald
Two insurance companies were not held liable for their agent's theft of thousands of dollars in Hass v. Wentzlaff, 2012 S.D. 50.
The agent was not acting within the course and scope of his employment when he stole the money because his actions: (1) were motivated solely by his own personal interests, and (2) not foreseeable to the insurance companies.
Also, a South Dakota statute did not change the common law analysis to be made in these circumstances to impose strict liability on an insurance company for the acts of its agents.
The decision articulates when an insurance company can be/will be held liable for the bad acts – theft – by one of its agents.
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