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Christensen v. Swenson

Supreme Court of Utah
874 P.2d 125 (Utah 1994)



Swenson (defendant) worked as a security guard for Burns (defendant) at the Geneva Steel Plant. During their shifts, guards at the plant were permitted to take unscheduled lunch and restroom breaks lasting 10 to 15 minutes. The only restaurant accessible during these short breaks was the Frontier Cafe, located across the street from the plant and about 150 to 250 yards away from Swenson’s post. A menu for the cafe was displayed at Swenson’s post. On the day of the accident Swenson called the cafe from her post to place an order, then drove to the cafe, intending to return and eat lunch at her post. While returning from the cafe, Swenson collided with Christensen (plaintiff). Christensen sued Swenson and Burns, claiming that Swenson was negligent in her driving. The trial court dismissed Burns on summary judgment after finding that Swenson was not acting within the scope of her employment when the accident occurred. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that Swenson was not within the spatial boundaries of her employment at the time of the accident, because the accident did not occur on employer property.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Durham, J.)

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