Brief Fact Summary. John Sandilands (Mr. Sandilands) was involved in an automobile wreck with John Lundberg (Mr. Lundberg), killing Mr. Lundberg. Mr. Sandilands was driving to his job with the State of New York at the time and the Plaintiff – Respondent, Mr. Lundberg’s widow (Respondent) brought suit against the Defendant – Appellant, the State of New York (Appellant), under a respondeat superior theory.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. As a general rule, an employee is not within the scope of his employment when driving to and from work.
Issue. Was Mr. Sandilands acting within the scope of his employment when the accident occurred so as to make the Respondent liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior?
Held. No. Judgment reversed and claim against Respondent dismissed.
* In order to be within the scope of employment, an employee must be doing something in furtherance of the duties owed to his employer and the employer must be exercising, or be able to exercise control over the employee’s activities. An employee who uses his car in furtherance of his work is acting in the scope of his employment while driving home from his last business appointment. However, as a general rule an employee driving to and from work is not acting within the scope of employment because the element of control is lacking. The mere fact that the Appellant agreed to pay Mr. Sandiland’s travel expenses did not allow it the right of control.
The test in brief is this: If the work of the employee creates the necessity for travel, he is in the course of his employment, though he is serving at the same time some purpose of his own.View Full Point of Law