Employer Was Not Vicariously Liable For Employee’s Sexual Misconduct

Doe 1 v. City of Murrieta, 102 Cal. App. 4th 899 (2002)

In this case, a Murrieta police officer sexually abused two 16- year-old girls who were participants in the Murrieta Police Department’s Explorer Program. The minors alleged that the City of Murrieta was vicariously liable for the police officer’s sexual misconduct. The trial court sustained the city’s demurrer without leave to amend to the vicarious liability claims on the ground that the officer had not been acting within the course and scope of his employment when he sexually abused the minors. The Court of Appeal affirmed and also affirmed summary adjudication of the minors’ breach of contract claim because it had not been raised in their administrative government claim. The Court reversed the summary adjudication of the negligent supervision claim since there were material triable issues of fact as to whether the city knew or should have known of the officer’s misconduct.