Elardo, Bragg, Appel & Rossi

Negligence – Duty of Care

DELCI V. GUTIERREZ TRUCKING COMPANY, 275 P.3d 632 (APP. DIV. 1 04/19/2012).

Passenger and his mother, on behalf of deceased, driver brought action against owner of tractor trailer alleging that owner failed to secure tractor trailer, resulting in theft of tractor trailer and subsequent collision that killed driver of other vehicle and injured passenger. The trial court granted judgment on the pleadings in favor of owner. Passenger and mother appealed.

HOLDING: A vehicle owner owes no duty to protect third parties from the risk of harm caused by an unrelated third party who takes and drives the vehicle without permission. Here, there was no special or categorical relationship between the parties that would give rise to a duty of care. The superior court therefore correctly granted judgment on the pleadings for the defendants.