Respondent Leopoldo Jorge, Jr. sued Almir Da Fonseca and appellant Culinary Institute of America for injuries suffered when he was hit by a car driven by Da Fonseca, a chef instructor employed by the Institute. Although Da Fonseca had finished his shift at the Culinary Institute and was driving home in his own vehicle at the time of the accident, a jury found the Institute liable for Jorge’s injuries on a theory of respondeat superior. The Culinary Institute moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on the ground that Da Fonseca was not acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident. More specifically, it argued that there was no evidence supporting the application of the “required vehicle” exception to the “going and coming” rule, and thus it could not be vicariously liable for Da Fonseca’s negligent conduct while he was commuting home from work. The trial court denied the motion.
The Culinary Institute appealed, again arguing that it could not be liable to Jorge for injuries caused by Da Fonseca’s negligence because there was no evidence that at the time of the accident, Da Fonseca was acting within the scope of his employment. The California Court of Appeals for the First District agreed and reversed.