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

Murphy slipped and fell at a Holiday Inn and sued. Holiday Inn argued that it had no relationship with the operator of the premises (Betsy-Len Corporation) other than a license agreement.

Trial court ruled in favor of Holiday Inn.

Did a principal-agent or master-servant relationship exist?

No. Affirmed.

The regulatory provisions in the franchise agreement didn’t give Holiday Inn control or the right to control the methods or details of doing the day-to-day work:

  • Defendant was given no power to control daily maintenance of the premises.
  • Defendant was given no power to control Betsy-Len’s current business expenditures, fix customer rates, or demand a share of the profits.
  • Defendant was given no power to hire or fire Betsy-Len’s employees, determine employee wages or working conditions, set standards for employee skills or productivity, supervise employee work routine, or discipline employees for nonfeasance or misfeasance.