Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff, an injured pipe layer, sued Defendant, a backhoe company, in the Superior Court of Alaska, alleging vicarious liability for its operator’s negligence. The trial court granted the company’s summary judgment motion on the ground that its operator was a borrowed servant working for the Plaintiff’s employer at the time of the accident. Plaintiff challenged this decision.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The borrowed servant rule carves out an exception to the doctrine of respondeat superior. Under the borrowed servant rule a servant who is loaned by one master to another is regarded as acting for the borrowing master, and the loaning master is not held responsible for the servant’s negligent acts.
Issue. Does the doctrine of respondeat superior strictly apply in instances when an employee is on “borrow” to another?
Held. The court reversed the superior court’s summary judgment order, basing its decision on the borrowed servant rule. It remanded the case for further proceedings.
The basis of respondeat superior has been correctly stated as the desire to include in the costs of operation inevitable losses to third persons incident to carrying on an enterprise, and thus distribute the burden among those benefited by the enterprise.View Full Point of Law