Dr. Stevens had a successful practice as a chiropractor. She owned the small building where she operated her practice. Dr. Mercer, another chiropractor who was starting his own practice, approached Dr. Stevens to rent office space, and Dr. Stevens agreed to lease him some space in her building. Dr. Stevens heard from another doctor in town that Dr. Mercer had been accused by a previous patient of some sort of wrongdoing, but because she did not really know the nature of the accusations and she believed Dr. Mercer to be highly qualified and reputable, Dr. Stevens ignored the accusations.
Additionally, the sign posted on the front of the building displayed both of their names, but Dr. Stevens and Dr. Mercer operated separate practices with their own individual patient lists. However, both doctors employed Dina, a massage therapist, as an independent contractor to provide massages to some of their patients.
Sequence of Events:
A) After nearly 2 years of operating with the above office arrangement, Dr. Mercer suddenly left the state without giving Dr. Stevens any notice that he was leaving or where he was going. At the same time, one of Dr. Mercer’s patients said that Dr. Mercer had injured her during his last treatment and filed a complaint to the medical board that also listed Dr. Stevens as a party. The patient believed that the two doctors shared the practice.
B) Dr. Stevens and Dr. Mercer had purchased some of their medical supplies from the same supplier, Chiro-Co. In one instance, when Dr. Stevens was too busy to make arrangements to buy her own supplies, she told a Chiro-Co sales representative, over the phone, “Dr. Mercer can order the supplies on my behalf.” Dr. Stevens only intended for that to apply for that one particular time. However, after Dr. Mercer disappeared, Dr. Stevens learned that he had ordered a large amount of supplies in her name and left with the supplies. Chiro-Co. is demanding the money for the supplies from Dr. Stevens.
C) At the same time, Dina, the massage therapist, was accused by several patients (of both doctors) of sexually inappropriate behavior. These patients also sued Dr. Stevens as part of their complaint, as Dina did not have malpractice insurance.
In a 2- to 3-page evaluation, discuss Dr. Stevens’ liability for these complaints. In your paper, be sure to address the principles of agency law and liability.
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