(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the proceedings.)
Where the employee “is combining his own business with that of his master, or attending to both at substantially the same time, no nice inquiry will be made as to which business the servant was actually engaged in when a third person was injured.” Miller v. Stouffer (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 70, 78. “If the main purpose of his activity is still the employer’s business, it does not cease to be within the scope of the employment by reason of incidental personal acts, slight delays, or deflections from the most direct route. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. V. Haight (1988) 205 Cal,App.3d 223, 243. Under such circumstances, the employer will face respondent superior liability “unless it clearly appears that the servant could not have been directly or indirectly serving his master.” Miller v. Stouffer, supra, 9 Cal.App.4th at 78 citing Loper v. Morrison (1944) 23 Cal.2d 600, 606.
Even if not motivated by a desire to serve the employer, conduct is nevertheless within the course and scope of employment if there is a sufficient causal nexus between the conduct at issue and the employment. Lisa M. v. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital (1995) 12 Cal.4th 291, 298. A sufficient causal nexus exists where the conduct at issue is “generated by or an outgrowth of work place responsibilities, conditions or events.” Id. at 302.
In determining whether an employee has departed from the course and scope of employment, a variety of factors must be considered and weighed, including the intent of the employee; the nature, time and place of the employee’s conduct; the work the employee was hired to do; the incidental acts the employer should reasonably expect the employee to do; the amount of freedom allowed to the employee in performing the his or her duties; and the amount of time consumed in the personal activity. O’Connor v. McDonald’s Restaurants supra, 220 Cal.App.3d at 30; Felix v. Asai (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 926, 932-933. (See Part 12 of 14.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.