Hinman v. Westinghouse Elec. Co.

2 Cal. 3d 956, 88 Cal. Rptr. 188, 471 P.2d 988 (1970)



Exceptions will be made to the "going and coming" rule where the trip involves an incidental benefit to the employer, not common to commute trips by ordinary members of the work force. The fact that the employee receives personal benefits is not determinative when there is also a benefit to the employer.


Plaintiff injury victim was a Los Angeles police officer who was struck by a car driven by an employee of defendant employer. Intervenor City of Los Angeles paid for plaintiff's medical expenses and pension. Plaintiff filed suit against defendant under the theory of respondeat superior. The jury entered a verdict for defendant. The court of appeals reversed.



Is the doctrine of respondeat superior applicable to the case at bar?




At the time of the accident, the employee was returning home from a job site. The employee was paid his travel expenses, but defendant had no control over the method or route of transportation. Defendant was liable for the negligent acts of its employees conducted in the scope of defendant's enterprise. This extended to injuries which were beyond defendant's direct control but were the risks of the enterprise. The "coming and going" rule, which suspended liability, had exceptions. An exception applied here where the trip involved an incidental benefit to defendant. Defendant's benefit was reaching out into the labor market to attract employees, which increased the risk of injuries. The travel time was thus a part of the employment contract.

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