Although the custom and practice of an industry can help define a standard of care a party must exercise after it has undertaken a duty, industry standards do not give rise to an independent legal duty.
Plaintiffs, the owners of a car and the parents of an injured motorist, filed suit against defendant oil service provider for negligently failing to inspect plaintiffs' tires during an oil change. Plaintiffs took their car to defendant for an oil change. The oil change service included a check of the car's tire pressure. Several weeks later, plaintiffs' son was involved in a car accident. Plaintiffs asserted that the worn condition of the tread on the inside portion of a tire caused or contributed to the accident, and sued defendant for negligence. The Superior Court in Maricopa County, Arizona, granted summary judgment for defendant on the issue of duty. Plaintiffs appealed.
During a routine oil change and service job, did service provider owe the vehicle owners a duty to perform a safety inspection of the tires on the vehicle and to warn of any dangerous tread wear?
The Court of Appeals of Arizona upheld the trial court’s decision. The relationship between the parties did not create a duty on the part of defendant to inspect the tires. Public policy did not support the imposition of a duty on defendant's part. Defendant did not create the risk resulting from allegedly worn tires, and did not undertake to inspect the tires of plaintiffs' car. The Court of Appeals of Arizona declined to extend defendant's duty to include a safety inspection of the tires. The judgment was affirmed.