(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the proceedings.)
Mr. Sunderland sued both Mr. Mazloom and his employer, Lockheed. The appellate court
held Mr. Sunderland was in the course and scope of his employment, noting the following:
1. Mr. Mazloom drove his own vehicle.
2. Lockheed did not pay Mr. Mazloom a mileage allowance while he worked in Lancaster.
3. Mr. Mazloom had already cleared out his office. Thus, his work for Lockheed was finished.
4. Mr. Mazloom made the trip to the fast food restaurant to get food. Thus, it was not a trip that had a mix of personal and business purposes.
5. The trip to In-N-Out Burger had no benefit to Lockheed.
6. Finally, the Court noted that Lockheed had “no control over Mazloom’s choice of
transportation generally, or over his movements at the time he collided with plaintiff’s
The facts in the present case of Gibbs v.ABC, are critically different and thus require a different
result from the one reached in Sunderland.
1. Unlike Sunderland, Ms. Smythe’s vehicle was provided and paid for by her employer, ABC.
2. Unlike Sunderland, ABC paid for Ms. Smythe’s travel expenses.
3. Unlike Sunderland, Ms. Smythe was in the middle of a multi-day business trip for the benefit of ABC. Mr. Mazloom had already “cleared out his office,” whereas Ms. Smythe was expected by her boss to continue working for ABC in California the day following her collision with plaintiff John Gibbs.
4. Unlike Sunderland, the trip to San Francisco was for business and personal reasons. Ms. Smythe needed internet access to do her ABC job. She was provided none at the ABC
corporate residence in San Anselmo. Smythe had to travel somewhere to get internet access. She chose nearby San Francisco. Thus, the trip combined both business and personal matters.
5. Unlike Sunderland, Ms. Smythe’s trip provided a benefit to her employer, ABC:
Smythe could use the internet to check her ABC e-mails and respond to them as required by her position as ABC President and COO.
6. Unlike Sunderland, Ms. Smythe told his boss, ABC CEO Victoria Chan, of the
trip to San Francisco, and Chan approved. Smythe left for San Francisco with the knowledge and approval of Chan, and would not have gone without such approval.
It is clear from the foregoing the facts in the present case of Gibbs are remarkably different from those in Sunderland. As such, the Gibbs case requires a different result than the one reached in Sunderland.
It is clear from the foregoing that ABC President and COO, Nancy Smythe, was an employee of ABC and active in the scope of her employment when John Gibbs was injured on July 17, 2006. At the very least, there exists a number of disputed material facts in this regard, which requires that the motion be denied.
There was no employment agreement but rather a brief email suggesting a short- term consultation that CEO Chan changed when she named Nancy Smythe ABC’s President and required a longer, full-time commitment, making newly-named President Smythe an employee. The fact that defendant ABC seriously argues that the woman CEO Chan named as ABC’s President was not an employee of ABC is both shocking and defies common sense.
The trip President Smythe made to San Francisco had both a business (check and respond to emails, telephone as necessary) and a personal (visit a friend) purpose. Therefore, such a trip is regarded by the California legal authorities cited above by plaintiff as within the scope of Ms. Smythe’s employment.
Mr. Gibbs is entitled, under the current state of the law, to have a jury decide these issues. He properly requests the motion be denied.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.