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Personal Protection: Vicarious Liability as Applied to the Various Business Structures


  • Brian Winrow JD, MBA,

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    • Brian Winrow, JD, MBA, is an assistant professor of Business Law and Management at Emporia State University. Before pursuing his professional endeavors in higher education, he served as a practicing attorney in New Mexico

  • Amanda R. Winrow SNM

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    • Amanda Winrow, SNM, BSN, is a former labor and delivery nurse currently seeking her master's in nurse-midwifery from the University of Kansas.

Emporia State University, Department of Business Administration & Education, Campus Box 4023, 1200 Commercial St, Emporia, KS 66801-5087. E-mail:


Within the field of midwifery, the issue of vicarious liability has become an emerging issue. The doctrine of respondeat superior imputes liability to an employer without direct negligence. While the issue of vicarious liability has been explored in the past, those studies were focused on the vicarious liability of certified nurse-midwives/certified midwives (CNMs/CMs) for the negligence of their employees. This article explores the issue of vicarious liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior as applied within a practice consisting of two or more co-owners. This issue is of heightened importance, because CNMs/CMs increasingly enter into ventures with other CNMs/CMs in order to pool their resources. Many CNMs/CMs unsuspectingly assume the risks for the malpractice of their colleagues. This increased risk can be minimized by forming their practice as a limited liability entity, thus avoiding personal liability for the malpractice of their co-owner(s).