Allertz v. Hankins, No. 19781.

CourtSupreme Court of Nebraska
Writing for the CourtSEDGWICK
Citation166 N.W. 608,102 Neb. 202
PartiesALLERTZ v. HANKINS ET AL.
Decision Date16 February 1918
Docket NumberNo. 19781.

102 Neb. 202
166 N.W. 608

ALLERTZ
v.
HANKINS ET AL.

No. 19781.

Supreme Court of Nebraska.

Feb. 16, 1918.



Syllabus by the Court.

In an action to hold a master liable for the act of a servant, if the act complained of is within the scope of the agent's employment the master may be liable if the servant did the act with a view to the service for which he was employed. If, then, the question is whether the servant at the time had some purpose of his own and not connected with his employment in doing the act, it becomes a question of fact for the jury.

If the employment of a foreman in a restaurant includes the maintaining of decent order among the waiters and employés generally, with authority to discharge an employé if necessary for that purpose, it does not follow that the scope of the employment includes corporal punishment or personal violence. The employer will not be liable for such action on the part of his employé in the absence of evidence that he has directed or authorized it.

A pleading may be amended before or after judgment, in furtherance of justice, “when the amendment does not change substantially the claim or defense, by conforming the pleading or proceeding to the facts proved.” Rev. St. 1913, § 7712. If the evidence, without objection, clearly proved a “claim or defense,” the pleading will upon appeal be considered amended accordingly.


Appeal from District Court, Lancaster County; Stewart, Judge.

Action by Lawrence Allertz against Lou Hankins and Lee Burroughs. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant Burroughs appeals. Reversed and remanded.

Hamer, J., dissenting.

[166 N.W. 608]

John J. Ledwith, of Lincoln, for appellant.

C. J. Campbell and H. R. Ankeny, both of Lincoln, for appellee.


SEDGWICK, J.

The defendant Burroughs was the proprietor of a restaurant in the city of Lincoln. The plaintiff and the defendant Hankins were in his employ in the restaurant. The plaintiff brought this action in the district court for Lancaster county against Hankins and Burroughs jointly to recover damages alleged to have been caused by an assault upon him by the defendant Hankins. He recovered a judgment against both of the defendants, and the defendant Burroughs has appealed.

The defendant Hankins contends that he acted in self-defense only, and that the plaintiff was responsible for his own injuries. As Hankins is not a party to this appeal, that question is not discussed in the briefs, and it is assumed for the purpose of this decision that Hankins assaulted the plaintiff, and that the evidence justifies the recovery against him. The plaintiff insists that although Burroughs was not at the time in the room where the assault occurred, he is liable for the acts of Hankins under the circumstances. Hankins was foreman for the defendant Burroughs, and, in Burroughs' absence, had charge of the business and control of the employés. He also acted as cook, and plaintiff was one of the waiters. The difficulty between Hankins and the plaintiff arose from the manner of the latter's service of some of the patrons of the restaurant. It is alleged, and we assume the jury was justified by the evidence in finding, that Hankins rebuked the plaintiff for his manner of performing the service, and, in anger and without cause, threw some article, which was for use in the business, at plaintiff, which caused the plaintiff's injuries. It is suggested in the brief that Burroughs anticipated such conduct on Hankins' part and encouraged it, but the evidence wholly fails to warrant such a suggestion. It is contended that after the trouble Burroughs took the view that the plaintiff was at fault and attempted to protect Hankins from prosecution or trouble on account thereof, but this evidence has no tendency to show that anything that Burroughs did could have been considered to have been the cause of the assault. The questions principally discussed in the briefs are: First, whether the act of Hankins in making this assault was within the scope of his employment or so connected with his duties as to make his employer responsible for his acts; and, second, whether Burroughs knew that Hankins was quarrelsome and vicious to such an extent as to make him a dangerous man in his position as foreman, and so was guilty of negligence in continuing him in such employment, which was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury.

[166 N.W. 609]

[1] Upon the first question the plaintiff quotes from the note in Goodloe v. Memphis & C. R. Co., 107 Ala. 233, 18 South. 166, 29 L. R. A. 729, 54 Am. St. Rep. 67, 89:

“Whether a servant did a tortious act with a view to his master's service, or to serve a purpose of his own, is a question of fact for the jury.”

When the act complained of is within the scope of the agent's employment, the master may be liable if the servant did the act with a view to the service for which he was employed, although the master would not be liable if the servant at the time had some purpose of his own and not connected with his employment in doing the act, and when the question depends upon the purpose and intention of the servant, it becomes a question of fact for the jury. And the statement quoted, under such circumstances, would be accurate. A more complete statement and one of more general application is found in the quotation from Nelson Business College Co. v. Lloyd, 60 Ohio St. 448, 54 N. E. 471, 46 L. R. A. 314, 71 Am. St. Rep. 729:

“In an action seeking to hold the master liable for an act of his servant, which, from its nature, is within his employment, the question is whether it was in fact done in the performance of his service to his master, or was done wholly for the purpose of injuring the plaintiff, and none other, that question must be determined by the jury.”

[2] And this quotation suggests the vital question in this case. Was the act of Hankins in assaulting this plaintiff “from its nature within his employment”? If the nature and quality of the act is clearly shown without dispute in the evidence, the court must so determine and not submit that question to the jury. When Burroughs authorized Hankins to act as foreman in his business, he gave him such authority over the persons there employed as he himself would possess under the same circumstances. It is said that Hankins had authority to direct the action of the employés, to rebuke them for misconduct, and even to discharge them from the employment altogether. If the...

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23 practice notes
  • Conway v. K.C. Public Service Co., No. 19102.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • December 5, 1938
    ...Brown v. U.P. Ry. Co., 111 Kans. 338; Beery (4 Ed.), sec. 1204; Penn Ry. Co. v. Keely, 177 Fed. 189; Zortz v. Drake-Williams Co. (Neb.), 166 N.W. 608; Muller v. Hellenbrand (N.Y.), 125 N.E. 808; Reilly v. Rys. Co., 91 N.Y. Sup. 319; Little Miami Ry. Co. v. Wetmore, 19 O. Stat. 110, 2 Am. Re......
  • Parr v. McDade, No. 2--1072A87
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 31, 1974
    ...servant acted wilfully, maliciously or negligently. Cressy v. Republic Creosoting Co., 108 Minn. 349, 122 N.W. 484; Allertz v. Hankins, 102 Neb. 202, 166 N.W. 608, L.R.A.1918F, 534; Hall v. Smathers, 240 N.Y. 486, 148 N.E. 654; Livingston v. Gennert, Sup., 165 N.Y.S. 989, 15 A.L.R.2d 'The d......
  • Garcia v. Duffy, No. 85-1825
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 30, 1986
    ...J., concur. --------------- 1 See, e.g., Cressy v. Republic Creosoting Co., 108 Minn. 349, 122 N.W. 484 (1909); Allertz v. Hankins, 102 Neb. 202, 166 N.W. 608 (1918); Hall v. Smathers, 240 N.Y. 486, 148 N.E. 654 (1925); Livingston v. Gennert, 165 N.Y.S. 989 (1917), cited in Mallory at 69 So......
  • Robinson v. Mcalhaney, No. 115.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • September 28, 1938
    ...his personal animosity or to carry out an independent purpose of his own, then the master is not liable. 30 C.J. 1307, Allertz v. Hankins, 102 Neb. 202, 166 N.W. 608, L.R.A.1918F, 534, Turner v. American District Tel. Co, 94 Conn. 707, 110 A. 540, 10 A.L.R. 1079; Jackson v. Scheiber, 209 N.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • Conway v. K.C. Public Service Co., No. 19102.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • December 5, 1938
    ...Brown v. U.P. Ry. Co., 111 Kans. 338; Beery (4 Ed.), sec. 1204; Penn Ry. Co. v. Keely, 177 Fed. 189; Zortz v. Drake-Williams Co. (Neb.), 166 N.W. 608; Muller v. Hellenbrand (N.Y.), 125 N.E. 808; Reilly v. Rys. Co., 91 N.Y. Sup. 319; Little Miami Ry. Co. v. Wetmore, 19 O. Stat. 110, 2 Am. Re......
  • Parr v. McDade, No. 2--1072A87
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 31, 1974
    ...servant acted wilfully, maliciously or negligently. Cressy v. Republic Creosoting Co., 108 Minn. 349, 122 N.W. 484; Allertz v. Hankins, 102 Neb. 202, 166 N.W. 608, L.R.A.1918F, 534; Hall v. Smathers, 240 N.Y. 486, 148 N.E. 654; Livingston v. Gennert, Sup., 165 N.Y.S. 989, 15 A.L.R.2d 'The d......
  • Garcia v. Duffy, No. 85-1825
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 30, 1986
    ...J., concur. --------------- 1 See, e.g., Cressy v. Republic Creosoting Co., 108 Minn. 349, 122 N.W. 484 (1909); Allertz v. Hankins, 102 Neb. 202, 166 N.W. 608 (1918); Hall v. Smathers, 240 N.Y. 486, 148 N.E. 654 (1925); Livingston v. Gennert, 165 N.Y.S. 989 (1917), cited in Mallory at 69 So......
  • Robinson v. Mcalhaney, No. 115.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • September 28, 1938
    ...his personal animosity or to carry out an independent purpose of his own, then the master is not liable. 30 C.J. 1307, Allertz v. Hankins, 102 Neb. 202, 166 N.W. 608, L.R.A.1918F, 534, Turner v. American District Tel. Co, 94 Conn. 707, 110 A. 540, 10 A.L.R. 1079; Jackson v. Scheiber, 209 N.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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