Traveling from a business dinner to a company-owned storage facility while an employee is on the way home falls within the scope of employment, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled.
The high court’s 8-1 decision in Liana Leordeanu v. American Protection Insurance Co. overturned a state appellate court ruling involving a pharmaceutical sales representative who worked from her apartment and drove a company car.
Leordeanu dined with clients, and her route home took her past a company-provided storage unit adjacent to her apartment complex. The unit was used to store drug samples, court records show.
She intended to stop at the unit when she ran off a highway and was seriously injured.
American Protection denied a workers’ compensation claim, concluding that Leordeanu was not acting “in the course and scope of employment” when the accident occurred, court records state.
A jury later disagreed, but an appellate court reversed the jury’s decision.
In its Dec. 3 ruling, however, the Texas Supreme Court said that under Texas law, Leordeanu was acting in the course and scope of employment because she was on her way from an employer-sponsored dinner to an employer-provided facility, and she was acting in furtherance of her employer.
The Supreme Court’s ruling affirmed the trial court’s judgment.