DoorDash Faces Negligent Hiring Lawsuit After Driver Allegedly Stabs Restaurant Owner

Gavel and scales.

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A restaurant owner in Las Vegas, Nevada, has filed a negligent hiring lawsuit against DoorDash claiming that he was allegedly stabbed by a driver working for the on-demand food delivery service who was “a felon with a history of violence and mental illness,” according to a report from KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles, California.

KTLA reported that Fabio Coppola and his wife, Heather Coppola, filed a negligent hiring lawsuit in Nevada state court that claimed Mackie Lee Allen, 32, was in a restaurant parking lot waiting for his DoorDash delivery when he allegedly stabbed Coppola – who had come out to let him know the food was ready – on October 27, 2018.

KTLA reported that Allen was arrested and is being held on an attempted murder charge at Clark County jail. DoorDash dismissed Allen for failing to maintain its code of conduct. “We sincerely regret that this incident fell short of the experience we strive to give our customers every day,” the company stated.

Coppola’s attorney, Richard Schonfeld, said the lawsuit – which calls Allen a DoorDash employee, not an independent contractor – raises questions about standards for the protection of consumers and restaurant workers. “DoorDash’s flawed background check policy almost cost Mr. Coppola his life,” he said.

KTLA reported that Allen had felony convictions in Las Vegas for attempted robbery, forgery, and drug conspiracy dating to 2010 – including one that required him to obtain further mental health evaluation – and claimed DoorDash’s background check service only reviewed seven years of criminal history.

“When an employer fails to exercise due diligence and a person is harmed by an employee, that employer can be sued,” Attorney Lester Rosen wrote in his book ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’ “The name of the legal action is called negligent hiring, sometimes referred to as the negligent hiring doctrine.”

Rosen, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), wrote: “If an employer hires someone who they knew – or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known – was dangerous, dishonest, unfit, or unqualified for the position… then the employer can be sued for negligent hiring.”

According to Rosen’s article “Why Consumers Cannot Trust the Trust Economy – The Inherent Conflict of Interest between Gig Economy Firms and their Customers and How to Fix It,” the main problem for the “trust economy” or “gig economy” – where software apps are used to facilitate on-demand services such as DoorDash – is “trust.”

Rosen cited a CNN investigation from 2018 that found 103 drivers working for Uber in the United States were accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years and 31 drivers were convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape.

“Given the negative fallout from such publicity to any firm in the trust marketplace, it would seem that an effort to create some standardized and generally accepted background screening protocols would be of great benefit to both providers and consumers,” wrote Rosen, who chose gig economy screening as a top trend for 2019.

In addition, Rosen has written several white papers on the subject of background checks including one about how “Background Screening of the Extended Workforce is Necessary to Compete in the Modern Economy” and also “21 Shortcuts and Traps that Can Lead to Inaccurate Criminal Records.”

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) a leading global background check provider – offers background checks for on-demand workers that make up the extended workforce in the trust or gig economy. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Industry-Specific-Solutions/On-Demand/.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) reminds readers of the ESR News Blog that any allegations made in a class action lawsuit are not proof that a business or individual violated any law, rule, or regulation. There have been only allegations in the pleading stage and no factual adjudications at the current time.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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