Lynn v. Tatitlek Support Services, Inc.

The going-and-coming exception to respondeat superior absolved defendant from liability for injuries from car crash caused by employee who was offered free bus transportation to job site but elected to drive, and who was not on the clock during the car journey.  The Marines hired defendant to create realistic military exercises in the high desert using American residents of Afghan extraction who lived in communities hundreds of miles from the site of the exercises.  Defendant offered the Afghan role players in its exercises free bus transportation from their homes to the exercise site, but also allowed them to drive their own cars each way, and reimbursed their costs of doing so.  Defendant did not pay the role players for time spent going from home to the exercise or for the return trip. One of the role players who drove to the exercise site was involved in a car crash, killing the other driver.  Held, defendant was not liable for the death.  The going and coming rule exception to respondeat superior applied.  The employer derived no special benefit from the role player’s driving to the exercise site rather than taking the free employer-provided bus; it was the role player’s own voluntary choice to drive.  Thus it was the role player’s personal actions in driving for his own benefit, and not for defendant’s, which caused the accident.

California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 2 (Codrington, J.); February 22, 2017; 2017 WL 696008

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