Jimenez v. Mrs. Gooch's Natural Food Markets, Inc.Annotate this Case
Decedent was hit by a pickup truck in a crosswalk at a major intersection. After the accident, the decedent, who was on a 15-minute work break, walked back to the Whole Foods Market (the store) where he worked. There, store employees gave him an ice pack, a form to fill out relating to his injury, and a ride home. He died several hours later. The decedent is survived by his wife and three children (Plaintiffs), who filed this wrongful death action against several parties, including Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Food Markets, Inc. (Mrs. Gooch’s), the parent company of the store and the decedent’s employer. Mrs. Gooch’s demurred to the operative first amended complaint because an administrative law judge and the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board had found the decedent’s injury and death to be employment-related and, therefore within the scope of workers’ compensation. The trial court sustained the demurrer.
The Second Appellate District affirmed. Plaintiffs first argued that Mrs. Gooch’s, through its employees, acted in a dual capacity following the accident. The court explained that Plaintiffs cite no case holding that a negligent undertaking theory is viable in the circumstances of the case. Plaintiffs also argued that the fraudulent concealment exception to the exclusive remedy rule applies. The court explained that the complaint does not allege that the decedent was unaware of his injury. Moreover, according to the operative complaint, Mrs. Gooch’s was unaware of the decedent’s injury until he advised his supervisors that he had been in an accident.