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Edgewater Motels, Inc. v. Gatzke

Minnesota Supreme Court
277 N.W.2d 11 (1979)


Facts

Gatzke (defendant) worked for Walgreen (defendant) supervising the opening of a new Walgreen restaurant. While supervising the restaurant, Gatzke stayed at a motel owned by Edgewater (plaintiff). Gatzke was on call 24 hours per day to manage other Walgreen restaurants while at the motel, and considered the motel room his “office away from home.” After working into the night, Gatzke returned to his motel room and smoked a cigarette while filling out an expense report for Walgreen. During this time, Gatzke’s cigarette started a fire in the room, causing serious damage to the motel. Edgewater brought a negligence claim against both Gatzke and Walgreen, and the jury found Gatzke to be liable for sixty percent of the damage. However, the trial court determined that Gatzke’s conduct fell outside of the scope of his employment and granted judgment notwithstanding the verdict in favor of Walgreen.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scott, J.)

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