Z.V. v. County of RiversideAnnotate this Case
Z.V., then 15 years old and in foster care, was sexually assaulted by Riverside County social worker Birdsong in September 2009. Z.V. sought to hold Birdsong’s employer, Riverside County, responsible for the assault under the doctrine of respondeat superior. The trial court rejected the theory. The court of appeal affirmed, noting that Birdsong was not Z.V.’s assigned social worker, he merely volunteered to transport Z.V. to a new foster home at the end of the workday. The sexual assault took place after 8:30 at night, several hours after Birdsong’s shift would have normally finished, and after he had already completed the task of delivering Z.V. to the new home without incident. It was several hours after the delivery that Birdsong went back to pick up Z.V. under the pretext of building “rapport,” took him to a liquor store and then to Birdsong’s own apartment, where the attack took place.