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Law School Case Brief

Murphy v. Holiday Inns, Inc. - 216 Va. 490, 219 S.E.2d 874 (1975)


Agency is the fiduciary relation which results from the manifestation of consent by one person to another that the other shall act on his behalf and subject to his control, and consent by the other so to act.


Kyran Murphy (plaintiff) filed a motion for judgment against Holiday Inns, Inc. (“Holiday Inns”), a Tennessee Corporation, seeking damages for personal injuries sustained on August 24, 1971, while she was a guest at a motel in Danville. Murphy alleged that "Defendant owned and operated" the motel; that "Defendant, its agents and employees, so carelessly, recklessly, and negligently maintained the premises of the motel that Murphy did slip and fall on an area of a walk where water draining from an air conditioner had been allowed to accumulate"; and that as a proximate result of such negligence, Murphy sustained serious and permanent injuries. Holiday Inns filed for summary judgment on the grounds that it had no relationship with regard to the operator of the premises other than a license agreement. Murphy sought relief from the trial court's decision entering summary judgment in favor of Holiday Inns based on its relationship with regard to the operator of franchise's premises.


Was there an agency relationship between Holiday Inns and the operator of the premises?




The court held that facts determinative of the question of actual agency were those contained in the license agreement. The trial court did not exceed its authority in granting summary judgment since the license agreement gave Holiday Inns no control or right to control the methods or details of doing the work and, therefore, the reviewing court held that no principal-agent or master-servant relationship was created; thus, summary judgment was proper.

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