Liability of Municipality for Tortfeasor Employee
A municipality may not be held liable under 1983 "solely because it employs a tortfeasor." Board of County Comm'rs of Bryan County v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403, 117 S.Ct. 1382, 1388, 137 L. Ed. 2d 626 (1997).
It is well-settled that a 1983 action cannot be maintained against a municipality under a respondeat superior theory of liability for acts committed by its employees or agents. Casey v. Newport School Committee, 13 F. Supp.2d 242, 245 (D.R.I. 1998) (citing Monell v. Dep't. of Social Services of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 691, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 2036, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611 (1978)).
This rule has been applied "with equal force to private entity state actors." Forbes, 923 F. Supp. at 324.
An entity can be held vicariously liable "only if the constitutional violation at issue results from a policy . . . or decision officially adopted or promulgated by the entity's authorized officers or from an established custom or practice of the entity." Casey, 13 F. Supp.2d at 245 (citing Monell, 436 U.S. at 690-91, 98 S.Ct. at 2035-36).
"Holding an entity liable only if the injury results from an officially sanctioned policy or custom, exempts the entity from responsibility for the aberrant and unpredictable behavior of its employees while making it liable for acts and conduct rightly attributable to it." Bordanaro v. McLeod, 871 F.2d 1151, 1155 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 820, 110 S.Ct. 75, 107 L. Ed. 2d 42 (1989).