Pl - Schreiner
Df - Fruit
Fruit was an insurance salesman who was required to attend a sales
convention conducted by his employer at the Lands End.
He drove his own car, but was reimbursed for his expenditures.
The convention included social events as well as business events; he
was encouraged to mix freely with out-of-state experts in
order to learn new sales techniques.
On the second evening he drove to the Bar to look for some of his
colleagues, finding none he drove back.
His car skidded across a highway and struck a disabled vehicle.
Mr. Scheiner was standing in front of the vehicle and his legs were
Law or Rule(s): Respondeat Superior
An employer will be liable for the negligence of an employee committed
while the employee is acting in the scope of his employment-in
furtherance of his duties.
Let the employer answer
Focuses on the activities of the
Finds liability whenever the act of the employee was committed with the
implied authority, acquiescence [passive assent] or subsequent
ratification [to approve] of the employer.
Focuses benefit, motive, or purpose
of the activity.
Finds liability whenever the enterprise of the employer would have
benefited by the context of the act of the employee BUT FOR the
Does Not Apply
Justification for application of respondeat superior doctrine may
not be found on theories
involving employer's personal fault such as his failure to
exercise proper control over activities of his employees
or his failure to take proper precautions in firing or hiring
them; lack of care on employer's part would subject him to
direct liability without necessity of involving respondeat
When it Applies
Liability under doctrine of respondeat superior arises from
relationship of enterprise to society rather than from
misfeasance on part of employer. The enterprise may be regarded
as a unit for tort as opposed to K liability purposes.
Employees acts sufficiently connected with the enterprise are
in effect considered as deeds
of the enterprise itself.
Applicability of respondeat superior depends primarily on findings of
fact in each case.
Where insurance company required that its salesmen attend three-day
sales conference and salesmen were left to arrange own
transportation and scope of conference included informal
socializing with out-of-state guests, and defendant salesman
went to another place in search of out-of-state guests and found
none, jury could find he was
within scope of employment in returning to place of conference
during which return trip he had accident; and respondeat
Plaintiffs Argument: Fruit (Employee) was acting on behalf of
Equitable (Employer) when he went to and from the Bar prior to
injury to the Pl (Schreiner), and at the encouragement of his
Defendants Argument: Any business purpose of Fruit was
completed when Fruit left