On January 3, 2018, a 55 year old retired police officer was severely injured when his vehicle was struck head on by a speeding negligent driver on State Route 108/120 in Stanislaus County. The negligent driver was killed instantly and he only had a minimum insurance policy of $15,000. The attorneys for the plaintiff had to prove the negligent driver was driving in the course and scope of his employment with the staffing company and an auto parts delivery company. The defendants claimed the delivery driver had called into work to take the afternoon off and was driving for himself and not for his employer when the accident happened. Plaintiff contended the driver took the afternoon off to repair his flat tire which benefitted his employers and therefore he was driving in the scope of employment under the vehicle use exception to the going-and-coming rule (CACI 3725).
The staffing company claimed the defendant auto parts company had complete control of the delivery driver and was the special employer of the delivery driver and therefore the staffing company was not liable for the delivery driver under California law (CACI 3706). The plaintiff attorneys were able to prove that both defendants had the right to control the activities of the delivery driver and that both defendants were liable for the negligence of their driver.
The plaintiff suffered severe injuries including multiple pelvic fractures, spinal and leg fractions and a traumatic brain injury.
After almost four years of litigation, the case settled for $8,875,000 just before trial in the summer of 2022.