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Is a Company Liable for the Acts of its Personnel? – A Case Study of Liability Against an Unincorporated Association for the acts of its Members, Directors, Officers, Agents – Los Angeles, California

Who is liable if a director, officer, agent, or employee of an unincorporated association harms me during their scope of duty or course of employment?

Under California Corporate Code § 18250, “Except as otherwise provided by law, an unincorporated association is liable for its act or omission and for the act or omission of its director, officer, agent, or employee, acting within the scope of the office, agency, or employment, to the same extent as if the association were a natural person.”

This essentially means that the unincorporated association is responsible for whatever its personnel (director, officer, agent, or employee) does, if it is within the scope of the duties that the personnel is engaged in with the association or during the course of employment.

For example, usually unincorporated associations are clubs or teams, such as a recreational soccer team.  If a director of a soccer club, registered with the California Secretary of State as a unincorporated association, is involved in a automobile accident while driving a bus full of weekend worrier dad’s and mom’s to a soccer match, than the association is liable. Unincorporated Associations California Secretary of State Filing ua-100

Thus, if the director is liable for the accident within the scope of duty to the association, than under California Corporate Code § 18250, essentially a codified version of the Doctrine of Respondent Superior,  the association is likely liable for the director’s acts.  However, the situation is different if the personnel is not within the scope of duty.  For example, committing a unrelated and unforeseeable crime while beyond the scope of duty.

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