The First Department determined defendant-bicyclist’s (Cook’s) employer (AGI) was not vicariously liable for the bicyclist’s actions. Cook was riding his own bicycle on his own time when he struck and killed plaintiff. Cook worked as a bicycling coach for AGI. The court also found that the negligent hiring and retention cause of action was properly dismissed:
The motion court correctly determined that AGI could not be held vicariously liable for Cook’s alleged negligence, as Cook was acting outside the scope of his employment. At the time of the accident, Cook was engaged in a weekend bicycle ride, in a public park, using a bicycle that he purchased and equipped, was alone and was not coaching anyone, and was not acting in furtherance of any duties owed to AGI … .
Cook’s unsupported belief, as set forth in an affirmative defense, that his bicycle riding had a work component to it, and his unsworn Response to the Notice to Admit (see CPLR 3123[a]), which improperly sought admissions as to employment status, a contested issue central to the action … , do not create triable issues of fact as to whether Cook was acting in the scope of employment … . …[T]here is no indication that AGI was exercising any control over Cook at the time of the accident … .
The motion court correctly dismissed plaintiff’s direct negligence claim against AGI. There is no evidence that AGI knew or should have known of Cook’s alleged propensity to dangerously ride his bicycle in Central Park, an element necessary to support the claim for negligent hiring and retention … , and plaintiff’s conclusory allegations of deficient training are insufficient to defeat summary judgment … . Fein v Cook, 2017 NY Slip Op 06603, First Dept 9-26-17
NEGLIGENCE (DEFENDANT BICYCLIST WAS NOT ACTING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HIS EMPLOYMENT WHEN HE STRUCK AND KILLED PLAINTIFF, EMPLOYER NOT VICARIOUSLY OR DIRECTLY LIABLE (FIRST DEPT))/EMPLOYMENT LAW (VICARIOUS LIABILITY, DEFENDANT BICYCLIST WAS NOT ACTING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HIS EMPLOYMENT WHEN HE STRUCK AND KILLED PLAINTIFF, EMPLOYER NOT VICARIOUSLY OR DIRECTLY LIABLE (FIRST DEPT))