Negligent Entrustment

Negligent Entrustment: Trucking Accident

By on August 10, 2011 - Comments off

Diaz v. Carcamo, (California Supreme Court, June 23, 2011) — P.3d —-, 2011 WL 2473597
A woman who was injured in a freeway collision filed an action for negligence against the driver of a truck which collided with her vehicle. The plaintiff also sued the driver’s employer under a theory of negligent hiring and retention. The defendant employer offered to admit vicarious liability, arguing that, under Armenta v. Churchill (1954) 42 Cal.2d 448, its admission should preclude a cause of action for negligent hiring, retention and entrustment. However, at trial the court permitted the plaintiff to proceed on the negligent hiring and retention theory, and over objection of the defendants, allowed evidence of the driver’s prior accidents and employment history.

The court of appeal affirmed a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff, holding that Armenta was distinguishable because it involved entrustment instead of hiring, and did not involve an allocation of comparative fault. However, the California Supreme Court reversed, holding that where an employer admits vicarious liability for any negligent driving by its employees, a plaintiff may not pursue a negligent entrustment, hiring or retention claim: Read the rest »


Negligent Entrustment: Car Rentals

By on October 19, 2010 - Comments off

Flores v. Enterprise Rent-a-Car Company, (Second District, September 28, 2010) —Cal.Rptr.3d —- 188 Cal.App.4th 1055, 2010 WL 3749502, 10 Cal.Daily Op. Serv. 12,606, 2010 Daily Journal D.A.R. 15,174

The parents of a boy who suffered fatal injuries after he was struck by a rental car brought an action for negligent entrustment against Enterprise Rent-a-Car Company of Los Angeles and Enterprise Rent-a-Car Company. The plaintiffs alleged that the driver of the vehicle was under the influence of marijuana and the drug Ativan at the time of the accident, and that he had been convicted of driving under the influence of August of 2002 and May of 2003. The plaintiffs also alleged that the standard of practice for rental car companies is to screen potential renters for past convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and to refuse to rent vehicles to customers with a conviction within the previous 48 months.

The trial court granted summary judgment, holding that because the driver of the vehicle had a valid driver’s license and had given no indication that he was unfit to drive at the time of the rental, there was no additional duty on the part of the defendants to investigation his DMV records. The court of appeal affirmed, holding that Osborn vs. Hertz Corporation (1988) 205 Cal.App.3d 703, 252 Cal.Rptr. 613, should not be revisited, despite the more recent availability of electronic driver’s license checks: Read the rest »