Ostensible Agency: Definition, Examples, and Processes

Ostensible Agency

One of the objectives of the tort system is to hold some people (tortfeasors) legally accountable for specific actions to make up for previous wrongs and discourage similar behavior in the future. Specifically, we are talking about various parties’ culpability and ostensible agency in medical malpractice today.

In general, one cannot hold another person accountable for their carelessness. But there are always going to be exceptions to the norm. When a specific legal relationship exists that provides a duty to exercise a standard of care that a reasonably sensible person would apply in the same or comparable circumstances, certain tort and agency doctrines hold one person accountable for the actions of another.

This category includes principles like respondeat superior, agency by estoppel, and apparent/ostensible agency. Continue reading to learn more.

What does the term “ostensible agency” mean?

When a principle, without any explicit or real power, has purposefully or unintentionally led others to believe that they are an agent, they are acting as an “ostensible agent.”

What does seeming authority look like?

To end an auction, the auctioneer took a bid for a horse. The auctioneer was authorized to accept a price for the horse, but the amount they took was less than the minimum reserve price. The seller’s apparent authority was with the auctioneer.

In business, what is ostensible?

“Ostensible” refers to something that, despite being formally declared to be true, appears to be false to you or others.[Organic] Gathering knowledge on financial plans was the apparent goal of these discussions.

Ostensible/Apparent Agency

Even though the person hiring the person may designate them as an independent contractor, there are situations where an agency connection may arise.
When a principal indicates to a third party that someone else is his agent, that manifestation is known as seeming authority. Through signs or advertisements, the manifestation might be made directly to a third party or the entire community. In 1983, OK CIV APP 58, 676 P.2d 279, 282, Smith v. St. Francis Hosp., Inc.
However, according to the ruling of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, “creating seeming authority” does not require the presence of actual authority between the principal and the agent. Oklahoma, 1981) 627 P.2d 439,441 Stephens v. Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.

Medical Professionals as Hospital’s Ostensible Agents

Respondent superior is generally not extended by Oklahoma to a hospital whose physician is an independent contractor and provides an independent medical opinion. 1951 OK 182, 233 P.2d 963; Van Cleave v. Irby. Oklahoma has joined other jurisdictions that deviate from the broad rule of apparent agency or agency by estoppel.

A hospital cannot, under the exception, refuse to accept liability for the careless actions of its agents because the agent physicians are independent contractors. Seminole Mun. Hosp. v. Weldon, 1985 OK 94, 709 P.2d 1058.
In situations such as Roth’s, the deciding factor is whether the patient requested medical attention or only the place to receive care from the doctor. Since this is a factual dispute, summary judgment is not the preferred method of resolution.


What distinguishes an apparent agency from an agency by estoppel?

What connection exists between an apparent agency and an agency by estoppel? A legal imposition of agency when it is found that an apparent agency exists is known as an agency by estoppel. When a court finds that there is an apparent agency, it imposes an agency via estoppel.

What is an agent’s apparent and real authority?

If the principal has told a third party that an agent has the power to act on their behalf, even if the agency lacks the actual authorization to do so, the agent will have apparent or ostensible (not actual) authority.

Which type of agency formation is the most well-known?

A contract creates the majority of agencies. The law of agency is therefore governed by the broad principles of contract law that are discussed in Chapters 4 (“Introduction to Contract Law”) through 12 (“Remedies”). Agency creation, however, can also occur by consent or without a contract.

Also, Read:

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

17 + 3 =