Dual-Capacity Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Dual capacity doctrine refers to a principle whereby a defendant who has two or more relationships with a plaintiff may be liable under any of these relationships. For example, if an employee injures an arm at work while operating a machine with a defective blade that the employer manufactures, the employee can receive benefits under workers compensation or sue the employer as the manufacturer of the defective blade. This principle makes an employer who is normally shielded from tort liability by workers' compensation laws liable in tort to an employee if the employer and employee stand in a secondary relationship that confers independent obligations on the employer.