Arvizu, et al. v. The Estate of George Puckett (Other)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff and her son were injured when her car was struck by a pickup truck driven by Edward Cantu. MCAA employed Cantu and Puckett owned the truck. Cantu's negligence was stipulated. The jury found that, although MCAA was his employer, Cantu drove the vehicle for Puckett's benefit. The jury found that MCAA, as Cantu's employer, had the right to direct the details of his work. It also found that Cantu was subject to Puckett's control "as to the details of the mission" when the accident occurred. The trial court rendered judgment for plaintiff. The court of appeals remanded for a new trial, holding that a jury could not logically find MCAA and Puckett to have simultaneously controlled Cantu's conduct, as the trial court had instructed the jury that Cantu could not have been an employee of both. But the jury also found that MCAA was subject to Puckett's control and was on a mission for Puckett's benefit - which comprised the elements of a principal-agent relationship. MCAA was vicariously liable for its employee's negligence; Puckett as principal was responsible for its agent's conduct. Because it was able to reconcile the jury's answers on that agency theory, the court reversed the court of appeals' judgment.