(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the proceedings.)
Further, personal acts that are “necessary to the comfort, convenience, health, and welfare of the employee while at work” are minor deviations and do not take the employee out of the course and scope of employment. O’Connor v. McDonald’s Restaurants (1990) 220 Cal. App. 3d 25, 30.
For example, in Lazar v. Thermal Equipment (1983) 148 Cal. App. 3d 458, 466-467, the court held that an employee’s decision to stop at a grocery store on the way home from work, even though the store was in the opposite direction than his normal route home, did not remove him from the course and scope of his employment. The court further held the detour was foreseeable because the employee was using a company vehicle to complete his work.
The Lazar court went on to say:
It is the established rule in this jurisdiction that where the servant 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 the third person was injured…” (Lazar, supra, at pp. 467-468.)
IV. DEFENDANT’S RELIANCE ON SUNDERLAND v. LOCKHEED IS MISPLACED
In its argument that Nancy Smythe was not in the scope of her employment with
ABC at the time of the collision, defendant relies exclusively on the decision of Sunderland v.
Lockheed (2005) 130 CA4th 1. Defendant’s reliance on Sunderland, supra, is misplaced, and
is easily distinguished from the case at bar.
The facts in Sunderland, supra, can be summarized as follows. Defendant Al Mazloom was an employee of Lockheed, based in Georgia. He was on an assignment in Lancaster, California. He drove to California in his own car and rented his own apartment. Lockheed terminated his assignment and requested he return from California. Mazloom completed his assignment, “clearing out his office” and “spent the afternoon packing and terminating the rental of his apartment.” He then drove to his father-in-law’s residence to “visit and say goodbye.” Leaving his father-in-law’s house he drove to an In-N–Out Burger to buy himself food. While in the drive-through he rear-ended Mr. Sunderland. (See Part 14 of 14.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.