Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Teebo v. Johnson

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 2, 2018

CAROL TEEBO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ETHAN JOHNSON, Defendant, and CITY OF SHENANDOAH, IOWA, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Page County, James M. Richardson, Judge.

         The city of Shenandoah challenges the denial of its motion for summary judgment seeking to dismiss the city from a negligence suit brought by an injured pedestrian struck by a police officer driving to work in his private vehicle.

          Gregory G. Barntsen of Smith, Peterson Law Firm, Council Bluffs, for appellant.

          Jon H. Johnson of Johnson Law, P.L.C., Sidney, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

          TABOR, Judge.

         Translated from Latin, respondeat superior means "let the principal answer." Montanick v. McMillin, 280 N.W. 608, 613 (Iowa 1938). The principal in this case is the city of Shenandoah. Injured pedestrian, Carol Teebo, argues the city should answer for the actions of its police officer, Ethan Johnson, who struck her while driving to work in his personal vehicle. The district court agreed with Teebo and denied the city's motion for summary judgment. In this interlocutory appeal, the city contends the district court misinterpreted or ignored case law interpreting the doctrine of respondeat superior. Because Johnson was not acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the collision, we reverse and remand for the dismissal of Teebo's claims against the city.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         Shenandoah patrol officer Ethan Johnson was scheduled to clock in for his eight-hour shift at 11:00 p.m. on Halloween night 2015. Apparently running late, Johnson-clad in his uniform-was commuting to work in his GMC pickup at 11:03 p.m. when he turned left and struck Teebo, who was crossing Sycamore Street, just half a block from the police station. After the accident, Johnson was distraught and received counseling from the police chaplain at the station. Another patrol officer took Johnson's shift that night. The police chief placed Johnson on paid administrative leave for five days. The Iowa State Patrol interviewed Johnson about the accident.

         In August 2016, Teebo filed a negligence suit against Johnson, alleging he failed to yield to a pedestrian and failed to keep a proper lookout. According to Teebo, the collision caused her serious harm, "including a severe head injury, causing constant pain, discomfort, and restriction of movement in the past and for an indefinite time for the future." She amended her petition in May 2017 to add the city of Shenandoah as a defendant. The amended petition alleged the city was "responsible for the negligent acts of its employees while on duty for the Shenandoah Police Department." The amended petition further asserted that at the time of the collision Johnson was "on duty and in full uniform."

         The city filed an answer claiming Teebo "failed to allege facts which would indicate the City of Shenandoah is responsible for the alleged negligent acts of Ethan Johnson." In August 2017, the city filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to dismiss all claims against it. The motion alleged Teebo "took Ethan Johnson's deposition on April 5, 2017, and in that deposition he indicated that he was on his way to work at the time the accident happened driving his own vehicle." In support of its motion, the city submitted a statement of material facts, asserting as follows:

• "Ethan Johnson was on his way to work in his own vehicle when his vehicle collided with the Plaintiff."
• "Ethan Johnson had not checked into work for the Shenandoah Police Department at the time of the accident."
• "He did not report for work with the Shenandoah Police Department after the accident but was given the night off and several days thereafter."
• "Police Chief Josh Gray . . . confirms Ethan Johnson had not reported for work and did not report for work as scheduled on October 31, 2015."

         The city attached the deposition of Johnson and the affidavit of Gray to its statement of material facts.

          Teebo filed her own statement of material facts, asserting:

• "Ethan Johnson, an employee of the Shenandoah Police Department was driving on his way to work in uniform when he negligently struck Carol Teebo at an intersection one ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.