Nathans v. Offerman
When ruling on whether an employee acts within the scope of employment for purposes of respondeat superior, a court may consider whether the conduct: 1.) takes place primarily within the employer's authorized time and space restrictions; 2.) is of the type that the employee is hired to perform; and 3.) is motivated by the employee's intent to serve the employer. In 2007, the Long Island Ducks played baseball in Bridgeport against the Bridgeport Bluefish. The Ducks were ahead 3 to 0, when it became their turn to bat. Bluefish pitcher Matt Beech threw a cut fastball that moved out of the strike zone and struck the batter, Jose Offerman, in the calf. Offerman charged the pitcher's mound. Johnathan Nathans, the Bluefish catcher, chased Offerman toward the infield and allegedly was struck by Offerman's bat. The umpires ejected Offerman. Police charged Offerman with assault. Offerman, a former Major League All-Star, never played baseball for the Ducks again. Nathans sued Offerman and the Ducks. The Ducks moved for summary judgment on his respondeat superior count. "[T]o hold an employer liable for the intentional torts of his employee, the employee must be acting within the scope of his employment and in furtherance of the employer's business," pursuant to Cornelius v. Department of Banking, a 2006 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. The Restatement (Second) of Agency, §245 provides, "A master is subject to liability for the intended tortious harm by a servant to the person or things of another by an act done in connection with the servant's employment, although the act was unauthorized, if the act was not unexpected in view of the duties of the servant." Here, there was a genuine issue of material fact with respect to whether Offerman's alleged conduct with the baseball bat took place within the scope of employment and was intended to further the employer's business. The court denied the Ducks' motion for summary judgment on respondeat superior. Connecticut courts do not award punitive damages in connection with vicarious liability claims, and the court granted the Ducks' motion for summary judgment on the punitive damages claim.