The Second Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined the defendant movie- theater manager, Adams, may have been acting within the scope of his employment by the theater, AMC, when he threatened plaintiff, a theater patron, with a pellet gun. Therefore AMC’s motion for summary judgment should not have been granted:
… [T]he general manager of the theater, Adams’s supervisor, stated, during his deposition, that managers, like Adams, have security-related responsibilities, including ensuring that the theater is safe for customers and dealing with unruly patrons. And the plaintiff, during his deposition, stated that he believed Adams was a security guard.
When a business employs security guards or bouncers to maintain order, the use of physical force may be within the scope of their employment … . Adams did not hold either of these job titles, but his responsibilities included maintaining order at the theater, ensuring the safety of customers and staff, and, if necessary, facilitating the removal from the theater of “disruptive or potentially violent” customers. The accomplishment of these ends by means prohibited by the AMC defendants’ policy was not necessarily unforeseeable. … Unquestionably, Adams’s response to the plaintiff and his friends was “in poor judgment” … and contrary to the AMC defendants’ policy, but “this in itself does not absolve [the AMC] defendants of liability for his acts” … . Norwood v Simon Prop. Group, Inc., 2021 NY Slip Op 07006, Second Dept 12-15-21