Peredia v. HR Mobile Services, Inc.Annotate this Case
The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment to a safety consultant. The trial court concluded that the consultant owed no duty of care to the employees because the consultant's allegedly negligent omissions were not affirmative misfeasance and thus were not acts "wrongful in their nature" for purposes of Civil Code section 2343.
The court interpreted the phrase "wrongful in their nature" as encompassing conduct that is tortious. Therefore, if plaintiffs are able to prove all of the elements of their negligent undertaking cause of action, they will have established the consultant's acts constituted a tort and were wrongful in their nature and precluded by section 2343. The court explained that, under this statutory interpretation, agents are responsible for their independent torts, but are not held vicariously liable for the torts of their principal. As to this negligent undertaking cause of action, the court held that there were triable issues of material fact as to the precise scope of the consultant's undertaking and of the duty that may have arisen from the undertaking, whether the consultant breached that duty, and whether the breach caused the death of plaintiffs' son.