• I’m a little on the fence on this one.

    If they can prove, for example, that this guy didn’t have a proper driver’s license without restricion (for example if the conditions of his parole only allowed him to drive to/from work), and can demonstrate that the car dealer knew this guy took dealer cars for his personal use off-hours (which may be in violation with manufacturer agreements, their insurance policy, or simply they way the tax accounting is done for wear and tear on demo cars) it may have some merit.

    Of course, the plaintiff’s logic is probably “the dealer has money, nobody likes car salesman, and we can get sympathy from a jury” more than a true belief in some legal principle. But I’m speculating here…

  • That’s right, a car dealership “allows” an employee to steal a car and shoot a cop in the middle of the night. Even if they really let him take a car, there is no causation to connect the dealership to the murder. Having a license or parole condition preventing this should not demonstrate causation to a murder.

  • Is there a way to ‘rightly allow’ someone to steal a car?

    Just wondering…

  • Robert, how can you be on the fence about this? If you unknowingly drop your keys next to your parked car and someone steals the car, drives away, and fatally shoots someone hours later, are you liable for the murder? After all, your negligence was almost the same as abetting the car theft. And, without the stolen car, the criminal couldn’t have driven to site of the murder. Or so the stupid argument goes. In a logical world, there is no case against you (in this hypothetical scenario) or the car dealer (in the real but surreal scenario).

  • Dr. T.

    Well, in no way can the car dealer be liable for the murder.

    But there may be some scenario where they have some responsibility to ensure that their cars are used for business purposes only, especially if that’s what they’re telling their insurance company and the IRS.

    I also wouldn’t want there to be a precedent whereby there’s a liability if you hire a parolee of an ex-con. You don’t want to make a whole class of people unemployable.

  • John, there has to be a written procedure. And all the proper forms have to be filled out and submitted three days in advance.

  • Indeed. All that this world needs to be a just place is for paperwork to be filled out.