Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
A lender cannot be found liable for loaning the car to a competent driver, or to a driver not known to be a risk or threat to other persons simply for the reason that she knew or should have known that her own liability insurance policy, by its terms, would not cover the driver's liability for negligently causing injury.
This case arises out of an automobile collision between a car owned by plaintiff Linda Joseph, driven by her son, plaintiff Andrew Joseph, and a car owned by defendant Judith Dickerson, driven by her daughter, defendant Christina Dickerson. At the time of the accident, Christina was nineteen years old and lived with her mother and baby in New Orleans. The vehicles collided at the intersection of North Miro Street and A.P. Tureaud Avenue in New Orleans. The court of appeals found Judith vicariously liable for the collision-causing negligence of her daughter.
Was the court of appeal correct in finding Judith liable because she loaned or entrusted her car to her daughter, Christina, whose negligence caused the accident, knowing that Christina was an excluded driver under a policy Judith had procured from Midland Risk Insurance Company?
The court held that the court of appeal erred in finding Judith negligent for entrusting her vehicle to Christina Dickerson, an otherwise competent, but policy-excluded driver. Judith owed a duty to not lend her car to another person who is likely to use the car in an unreasonably risky manner, because of that person's youth, inexperience, incompetence, or intoxication. Judith did not breach her duty when she entrusted her car to her policy-excluded, but otherwise competent, daughter. Accordingly, the court of appeal judgment is reversed insofar as it affirms the city court judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and against Judith. Plaintiffs' claims against Judith are therefore dismissed with prejudice at the plaintiffs' cost. Furthermore, the court of appeal and city court judgments are affirmed insofar as the judgments deny the plaintiffs recovery against Midland Risk Insurance Company.