Civil case defines respondeat superior liability, the going and coming rule and its exceptions

An employee was on his way to a breakfast meeting with a former colleague. He made a left turn and hit two pedestrians, killing one and injuring the other. The plaintiff brought a law suit trying to sue the employer indicating the breakfast meeting was work related and fit an exception to the going and coming rule.

There is an excellent discussion of respondent superior liability. This dealt with whether the employer could be vicariously liable for the employee’s actions.

To analyze this the court looked at the “going and coming rule”. Employees are generally not within the scope and course of employment on the way to work.

The court then looked at the exceptions to this rule. The first exception was the “special errand rule”. This breakfast meeting was not considered a “special errand”.

The next exception was the “required vehicle exception”. This requires benefit to the employer.

The court then looked at substantial departures from the employers’ business. Here it was determined the breakfast meeting was not work related.

Case: Stewart v. Board of Trustees

Harvey Brown
3501 Jamboree Rd. Suite 602
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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