Brief Fact Summary. The District Court, St. Louis County (Minnesota) found for Defendants, notwithstanding a jury verdict that its employee negligently caused a fire in the motel while he was in the scope of his employment.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The smoking of a cigarette, if done while engaged in the business of the employer, is within an employee’s scope of employment because it is a minor deviation from the employee’s work-related activities, and, thus, merely an act done incidental to general employment.
Issue. Was an employee’s negligence while smoking within that employee’s scope of employment thus making his employer partially liable for his negligence?
Held. Yes. On appeal, the court reversed and reinstated the jury verdict, holding that an employer could be vicariously liable for its employee’s negligent conduct if he is otherwise acting within the scope of his employment.
If, however, upon a search of the entire record, after taking the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and giving the adverse party the benefit of every inference reasonably deducible therefrom, the evidence as a whole manifestly and so overwhelmingly preponderates to the contrary as to be practically conclusive against the verdict, the motion for judgment non obstante should be granted.View Full Point of Law