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Case Synopsis

A mentally handicapped female working for Safeway Stores, Inc. was sexually assaulted at work by an employee of a company that provided janitorial services for Safeway. The assaults occurred in a storage room and in the parking lot while she was gathering shopping carts. She filed a complaint against Safeway and the janitorial company, Action Cleaning, alleging five causes of action as a result of the sexual assault. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Safeway, determining that Safeway was immune from suit because of coverage provided by the Nevada Industrial Insurance Act (the “NIIA”). The district court also granted summary judgment in favor of Action Cleaning pursuant to NRS 41.745 because it was not liable for intentional torts committed by its employee and because the employee’s intervening criminal acts were a superseding cause that relieved Action Cleaning of responsibility. The Nevada Supreme Court concluded that the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of Safeway and Action Cleaning. The Court also took the opportunity to clarify that the “slightest doubt” standard in Nevada’s summary judgment jurisprudence was an incorrect statement of the law and should no longer be used when analyzing motions for summary judgment. The Court formally adopted the federal standard for summary judgment.