Welch, an Osco store manager was driving form his store to the Osco District Office to deliver football tickets he received from a vendor.
During the drive, Welch made a spur of the moment decision to pull into a service station for an estimate for routine repairs on his company car.
While turning, Welch turned in front of P's car, causing an accident.
P sued Welch and also Osco in vicarious liability.
Trial court dismissed P's claim.
10th Cir COA reversed, reinstated P's claim.
How does the slight deviation rule apply to scope of employment inquiries for the purposes of respondeat superior?
According to the slight deviation rule, it must be determined whether the employee was on a frolic (pursuit of the employee's personal business as a substantial deviation from or an abandonment of the employment) or a detour (a deviation that is sufficiently related to the employment to fall within its scope).
Personal acts that are not far removed in time, distance, or purpose are deemed to be incidental to the employment.
Several factors have been used to determine whether an employee embarked on a slight or substantial deviation…
The employee's intent
The nature, time, and place of the deviation
The time consumed in the deviation
The work for which the employee was hired
The incidental acts reasonably expected by the employer
The freedom allowed the employee in performing his job responsibilities
Maintenance of a company vehicle used regularly in performing his job seems to fall within the scope of employment.
The place of the accident was still technically on the road to the district office.
He was a manager and probably had freedom to attend to certain personal needs throughout the day.
A reasonable jury could conclude that he was acting within the scope of his employment when he attempted to turn into the service station.