Cannizzaro v. Marinyak
An employer owed no duty to a third person injured by an off-duty employee who consumed alcohol on the employer's premises. Stephan Marinyak drove from the home of Diane Mayo, where he was employed as a plasterer and painter, and collided with a vehicle driven by Janine Cannizzaro. Cannizzaro suffered catastrophic injuries including a traumatic brain injury and amputation of her leg. Marinyak reportedly had a blood alcohol level of .19 percent when the accident occurred. Cannizzaro commenced this action against Marinyak and Mayo. The trial court rendered summary judgment for Mayo concluding that she did not owe Cannizzaro a duty of care under the circumstances. The plaintiff appealed, challenging the ruling. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Although the plaintiff produced sufficient evidence to establish a question of fact regarding Mayo's constructive knowledge of Marinyak's consumption of alcohol on her premises, as a matter of law, Mayo did not owe a duty of care to Cannizzaro. With respect to the duty of care owed by an employer to a third party injured by an employee for conduct outside the scope of employment, the Connecticut Supreme Court has adopted the provisions of §§314 through 317 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts and advised caution when interpreting the principles of these sections because they represent exceptions to the general rule prohibiting against imposing a duty to control the conduct of another. Section 317 requires the court to ask whether the servant's tortious conduct took place on the master's premises. The answer in this case is no. To find that Mayo had a duty to protect the plaintiff from Marinyak's driving while intoxicated would be inconsistent with the 2004 Connecticut Supreme Court case of Murdock v. Croughwell and the great majority of cases from other jurisdictions that have addressed the question under §317. The plaintiff pointed to the 2004 Appellate Court case of Seguro v. Cummiskey, concerning a plaintiff injured by an intoxicated bartender on the way home from work and finding a duty to supervise tavern employees. Seguro was decided before Murdock. Murdock implicitly overruled Seguro's analysis of §317 in stating that the tortious acts of an employee must occur on the employer's premises to impose a duty on the employer under the special relationship analysis in §317.