Newland v. County of Los Angeles (2018) 24 Cal.App.5th 676

Plaintiff was injured in a car accident with a Los Angeles County deputy public defender who was on his way home from work. Although employers are generally not liable for accidents arising from an employee’s commute, the plaintiff sued GMSR’s client, the County, contending it impliedly required public defenders to have cars at work in order to travel to courthouses, interview clients in jail, or visit crime scenes, and a jury awarded him $13.9 million.

In a 2-1 published decision, the Court of Appeal reversed and ordered entry of judgment for the County, holding that there was no evidence that the County required public defenders to have vehicles, nor any evidence the public defender needed a car on the day of the accident.

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