Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Negligent Entrustment Claim Based on Cell Phone Use by Driver Rejected

In the Berks County case of Good v. Whitt, 104 Berks 62 (C.P. Berks Oct. 20, 2011), the court entered summary judgment in favor of the Defendant owner of a vehicle on a negligent entrustment claim in a case where the Plaintiff alleged the negligent entrustment of a vehicle to a young, inexperienced driver who was using a hand-held cell phone at the time of the accident.

The Plaintiff alleged that the inexperienced driver’s use of a hand-held cell phone at the time of the accident resulted in inattentiveness that caused the accident.

The court found that there was no evidence that the driver had a reputation as an unsafe driver so as to put the Defendant owner on notice that his entrustment of the vehicle to that driver would be negligent conduct. Additionally, the court found that the Defendant owner had no reason to believe that the driver was using a cell phone while driving or that the driver would disobey the owner’s instructions not to use the phone while driving.

I do not have a copy of this decision.  If anyone does have a copy, I would appreciate receiving a copy so I can share it here on this blog.

To review other Tort Talk posts pertaining to cell phone use civil litigation issues, click here.

Source: “Court Summaries” by Timothy E. Clawges, Pennsylvania Bar News, Volume 22, Number 3 (Feb. 6, 2012).

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