Court of Appeal strikes punitive damage claim against employer of truck driver

CRST, Inc. v. Superior Court (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 1255 [California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Four] [published] Plaintiff sued the employer of a truck driver for negligent hiring/retention and sought punitive damages.  The trial court refused to strike the punitive damages allegations, but the Court of Appeal granted GMSR’s writ petition and ordered the allegations stricken.  It agreed with GMSR’s position that neither the employer’s failure to discover the driver’s prior substance abuse and vehicle accidents, nor the employee’s minor accidents while working for the employer, justified punitive damages.  The court further ruled that even if the driver’s direct supervisor knew about a purported construction-zone incident, GMSR’s client was entitled to summary adjudication because the supervisor was not a managing agent.

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