Lundberg v. State

Court of Appeals of New York, 1969.

25 N.Y.2d 467, 255 N.E.2d 177, 360 N.Y.S.2d 947.

Prosser, pp. 657-659


Facts: Lundberg’s husband was killed by Sandilands’s negligent operation of a car.  Sandilands works for the state of New York.


Issue: Should an employer be held responsible for its employee’s negligence?


Rule: An employer will be liable for the negligence of an employee if the employee was acting under the scope of his employment, that is, when the employee is doing something under the control of the employer and in furtherance of his duties to that employer.  Generally, however, driving one’s car to and from work is not considered under the control of the employer.


Analysis: The court basically says that Sandilands was going home of his own volition and on his own time, so the doctrine of respondeat superior doesn’t apply.


The dissent says that Sandilands’s employment made his travel necessary, and furthermore that the state paid for that travel.  The dissenter would affirm the judgment against the state.


Conclusion: The judgment against the state is reversed.


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