WARSAW — An amended complaint, with 17 counts, was filed on Dec. 15 by Atta Belle Helman and son Larry Dwayne Helman against Barnett’s Bail Bonds Inc., The Papers Inc., Stacey Staley, Tadd S. Martin, Daniel S. Foster and Michael C. Thomas. The complaint was filed after Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed dismissed the allegations against The Papers Inc., and Staley on Dec. 5. Reed ruled “there exists no claim in which relief could be granted.”
The original eight-count complaint was filed on June 6.
The complaint stems from the shooting death of Gary Helman on Aug. 25, 2014, which also resulted in injury to Larry Helman.
Among the amended complaint is the count of vicarious liability of The Papers Inc for the conduct its employee-servant, Staley.
Under the complaint against The Papers Inc., counsel for the plaintiffs states The Papers Inc., is vicariously liable for the “tortious acts of Staley,” to the extent that she operated as an employee-servant within the scope of her agency relationship with The Papers Inc.
The complaint states vicarious liability is the legal fiction by which a court can hold a party legally responsible for the wrongful acts of another. A 2014 Indiana Supreme Court case is referenced with the reasoning noted as “in the context of employer-employee relationships, the doctrine of respondent superior is a doctrine of agency, An employer-master may be held vicariously liable for the wrongful acts of employee-servants committed within the scope of the agency relationship.
Documents further state at all times relevant to the action, Staley was operating as an employee or agent for The Papers Inc., and that she conducted herself in a fashion and with the intent to further her own professional interests, along with that of The Papers Inc., by conspiring to manufacture and create a news story that would gain publicity and provide Staley and The Papers Inc., with multiple news stories to cover. “She further acted to further her agency relationship and continued to write multiple stories on this incident even in the wake of the violent shooting of Larry Helman and the death of Gary Helman.”
Additionally the amended complaint notes Staley acted with express, implied, and/or apparent authority stemming from her agency relationship with The Papers Inc., and in the course of acting within the scope of that agency relationship, Staley committed wrongful acts against the plaintiffs, causing them physical injuries and damages.
The amended complaint also includes general factual allegations, claims for intentional torts for assault, battery and trespass by Martin, Thomas and Foster along with claims for negligence, claims for vicarious liability and vicarious liability for aiding and abetting tortious conduct were filed against the three bondsmen. Claims for negligence per se, vicarious liability and vicarious liability for aiding and abetting tortious conduct were also filed against Staley.
Vicarious liability of Barnett’s Bail Bonds Inc., for the conduct its employee-servants: Martin, Thomas and Foster and vicarious liability of Barnett’s Bail Bonds Inc., for the conduct of its’ independent contractors Martin, Thomas and Foster were also among the counts.
As with the original complaint, a trial by jury on all claims is being requested.