Law School Case Brief
Kohlman v. Hyland - 54 N.D. 710, 210 N.W. 643 (1926)
A servant who has deviated from the strict line of duty does not resume the employment only "when he reaches a point on his route which he necessarily would have passed had he obeyed his orders. He may choose a different route back."
A 13-year-old boy was injured in a collision with an automobile belonging to defendant. Defendant was an electrical contractor, engaged in the business of building and repairing telephone lines. At the time of the accident, Ludwig, employed as foreman by defendant, was en route to build some telephone lines for his employer. The minor and his family lived east of New Rockford and, at the time of the accident, were driving in an easterly direction on the so-called Tiffany highway. About a mile east of New Rockford, they were struck by the car driven by Ludwig. The car was going west, towards New Rockford, en route to Carrington. As a result of the collision, the minor was injured. Thus, the minor filed an action to recover damages on account of personal injuries. The case was tried to a jury and, at the conclusion of the plaintiff's case, a motion to dismiss was made by defendant. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss on the ground that the minor had failed to establish liability as a matter of law and that the accident occurred while the servant was entirely upon his own business and outside the course of the employment.
Was Ludwig within the course of his employment at the time of the collision?
The judgment was reversed. The court held that the servant Ludwig was within the course of his employment at the time of the collision. The trial court erred in holding that the accident occurred while the servant was entirely upon his own business and outside the course of the employment. However, the court held that the question of whether the servant Ludwig had completely departed from or abandoned the defendant's service at the time of the accident was a question of fact to be resolved by the jury under appropriate instructions as to the law. Thus a new trial was ordered.
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