Negligent Entrustment Liability In Your Vehicle Fleets

Session Type: Management Workshop


Room Number: 204A

Available Dates & Times


n May of 2012, a jury in Texas awarded a woman $21 million dollars in actual and punitive damages after she was struck by a Coca-Cola sales representative who was talking on her cell phone while operating a company car. What can we learn from the mistakes of Coca-Cola’s risk management team?


  • Cruickshank, John - Photo

    John Cruickshank

    John is a Board Certified attorney in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  His legal philosophy is that a lawsuit avoided is better than a lawsuit won.  John focuses on helping his clients identify legal risks and eliminating them before a lawsuit is ever filed.  As a result, John stresses the importance of house calls – visiting his clients at their place of business to understand how they operate and what their individual needs are.  He is a lot more comfortable in a hard hat and steel toed boots than a suit and tie.

    John concentrates much of his time on understanding the needs of the industries he represents.  He is a highly regarded voice in the food manufacturing, building management, vehicle fleet leasing, steel manufacturing, and construction industries.  His goal in studying these industries is to identify legal issues and help his clients resolve them before they become the next wave of class action lawsuits or government investigations.

    His wage and hour audits pioneered this process for the food manufacturing industry.  He saved his clients hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in liability by identifying flaws in their wage and hour practices and correcting them before a lawsuit was filed.  John revised his audit process and is now advising his vehicle fleet leasing clients on the emerging threat of negligent entrustment liability and what they need to do to protect themselves.

    Adopting the Firm motto of prevent lawsuits, John encourages his clients to adopt tools and strategies that help them reduce the likelihood of ever being sued in the first place.  He was an early advocate of arbitration agreements and class action waivers, something that is now conventional wisdom.  His employment training ignores legal minutiae in favor of giving supervisors easy and practical solutions to managing work place issues through his much copied Rule #1 strategy of employment law.

    John’s representation of food and steel manufacturers includes extensive experience in union relations.  Although he has won multiple union representation elections in his career, he is more proud of the union campaigns he helped his clients avoid.  Recognizing that unions are at their weakest in the very initial stages of an organizing drive, he emphasizes supervisor training on the early signs of union activity as the company’s best defense to avoiding a costly election campaign.  For his clients that already have unions, John has negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements, resolved union grievances, and represented his clients in arbitration hearings.  And he advises all employers in union managed multi-employer pension plans to consider negotiating their way out as soon as possible.

    John believes the best way to help his clients – and to get new ones – is to keep them informed of emerging issues and strategies in labor and employment law.  He is the Deputy Industrial Relations Counsel for the North American Meat Association and a prolific speaker at numerous trade associations affiliated with the food manufacturing, transportation, and building management industries.  He also produces regular newsletters for his clients to keep them up to date on what they need to do to stay out of trouble and prevent lawsuits.

    John is an Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman.  In his free time, he enjoys camping and backpacking in some of the world’s most remote places.  This summer he will hike up Mount Katahdin in central Maine; in 2014 he plans to backpack through Denali National Park in Alaska; and in 2015 he is working on a trek to the end-of-the-world – Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.  A devout fan of Eco-Challenge and American Ninja Warrior, he also enjoys amateur adventure racing and is often training for a competition.