27 June, 2024

QPWB Protects Major National Auto Retailer Achieving Summary Judgment Surrounding Motor Vehicle Accident Liability Claims

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In: Verdicts

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Jacksonville-Hub Partner Christopher Bateh and Associate Marisa O'Connor successfully defended a national used vehicle dealer against a vicarious liability claim involving a loaner vehicle. The plaintiff alleged negligence by a customer involved in an accident with the plaintiff, while our client was shielded from liability under the federal Graves Amendment. By applying binding case law and strategic legal arguments, they obtained a final summary judgment in favor of our client.

Overview of the Case:

  • QPWB obtained a final summary judgment against the Plaintiff for a national used vehicle retailer.
  • The Plaintiff claimed the client was vicariously liable for a customer's negligence involving a loaner vehicle in an accident with the Plaintiff.
  • QPWB successfully defended using the federal Graves Amendment, citing binding authority from the 4th District Court of Appeals.
  • The Court agreed, granting final summary judgment in favor of the client.

Key Difference-Makers:

  • Christopher Bateh, Partner and lead on the case.
  • Marisa O'Connor, Associate who assisted Christopher with litigation and preparation for our motion for summary judgment.

Claims Made Against our Client:

  • Plaintiff alleged vicarious liability against our client due to a customer's negligence involving a loaner vehicle.
  • Plaintiff claimed our client fell under Florida's Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine.
  • Evidence showed our client provided the loaner vehicle for consideration during servicing of the customer's personal vehicle.
  • Plaintiff argued that our client's business activities fell within the scope of motor vehicle rental or leasing.
  • Plaintiff sought damages for negligence and vicarious liability.

Defensive Strategy:

  • Applied the federal Graves Amendment as a preemptive defense against vicarious liability claims.
  • Utilized binding and persuasive case law to support our motion for summary judgment.
  • Collaborated closely with our client to gather and present evidence supporting our legal arguments.
  • Engaged with legal experts across Florida to refine our strategy and anticipate opposition arguments.
  • Emphasized the commercial nature of the loaner vehicle arrangement to distinguish it from personal vehicle use.

Impact on Final Outcome:

  • Secured a final summary judgment by effectively demonstrating our client's exemption under the Graves Amendment.
  • Strengthened client confidence in our firm's ability to mitigate legal risks in similar cases.
  • Established a precedent for future cases involving vicarious liability claims against vehicle retailers providing loaner vehicles.

Predicting the Future:

  • Enhances the firm's reputation in handling complex liability issues in the automotive sector.
  • Provides a strategic advantage for future clients facing similar legal challenges under state and federal laws.
  • Demonstrates our commitment to proactive risk management and legal excellence in client representation.

About QPWB:

Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women-owned law firm in the nation, with jurisdiction in 45 states and territories in the U.S., enabling us to serve a broad spectrum of industries across more than 100 areas of practice. Our lawyers provide representation for businesses and their leaders in litigation, regulatory, and corporate matters.

Discover the QPWB Difference

Learn More

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