Imputed Knowledge Law and Legal Definition
Imputed knowledge means the knowledge attributed to a party because of his/her position, or his/her relationship with or responsibility for another party. Such knowledge is attributed for the reason that the facts in issue were open to discovery and it was that person's duty to apprise him/her of such facts. For instance, if the stairway leading to a rental house is defective and if any person is injured on the stairway, the house owner cannot evade liability for such person’s injury by denying knowledge of the defect. Reason being that the house owner is subject to a duty to discover and rectify the defect in an area known to be used by the public. Hence, knowledge of the defect is imputed to the house owner.
In CIT Group/Equipment Fin., Inc. v. Roberts, 885 So. 2d 185 (Ala. Civ. App. 2003), the court observed that “Knowledge of one person is generally only imputed to another where there exists a special legal relationship between the two, such as where the knowledge of an agent may be imputed to the principal, the knowledge of an attorney is imputed to his or her client, or the knowledge of one partner in a partnership is imputed to all the partners. Even in those relationships, though, imputation of knowledge may only be found under certain circumstances. The theory, known as the ''imputed knowledge rule,'' upon which imputation of knowledge from an agent to its principal rests is that, when the agent acts within the scope of the agency relationship, there is identity of interests between principal and agent. The presumption upon which imputation rests is that the agent will perform his duty and communicate to his principal the facts that the agent acquires while acting within the scope of the agency relationship.”