Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hinman v. Westinghouse case brief

Hinman v. Westinghouse case brief summary
471 P.2d 988 (1970)

Plaintiff injury victim and intervenor, City of Los Angeles, appealed the judgment from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which entered a judgment in favor of defendant employer after a jury verdict and from an order denying motions for judgments notwithstanding the verdict in plaintiff's lawsuit against defendant due to the alleged negligence of defendant's employee.

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 appeal reversed. 
  • 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.


The judgment in favor of defendant employer was reversed. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, defendant was liable for its employee even where he was going home at the time of the accident. The trip was an incidental benefit to defendant and thus was not within the "coming and going" exception to liability.

Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

No comments:

Post a Comment

Exploring Career Paths: What Can You Do with a Juris Doctor Degree?

Earning a Juris Doctor (JD) degree is a significant accomplishment, opening a wide array of career paths beyond the traditional legal practi...