The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Beasley v. Best Car Buys, LTD on Thursday, October 8, 2015.
Negligence—Summary Judgment—No Legal Duty to Inquire into a Buyer’s Driving History.
Best Car Buys, LTD (BCB) sold a car to Reynoso and Yancey. Eight days later, Reynoso, driving the new car, struck plaintiff Beasley, who was driving a motorcycle. Beasley sued BCB for negligence and negligent entrustment, claiming BCB should not have sold Reynoso the car because he did not have a driver’s license and was not a safe driver. BCB moved for summary judgment and the district court granted the motion.
On appeal, Beasley claimed that BCB negligently sold the car to Reynoso because BCB had a duty to investigate Reynoso’s driving history and declined to do so. To recover for negligent conduct of another, a plaintiff must establish that there was a duty owed by a defendant that was breached, and that the breach actually or proximately caused injury to the plaintiff. Here, the question was whether there was a duty that BCB breached. The Court of Appeals agreed with the district court that there is no legal requirement for automobile dealerships to conduct a search of a buyer’s driving history or to inquire as to the status of the buyer’s driver’s license. Because there was no duty on the part of BCB, there can be no negligence claim.
Beasley further argued that BCB negligently entrusted the car to Reynoso without requiring that he present a valid driver’s license. The Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 390, requires a finding that BCB had either actual knowledge or a reason to know that, in entrusting the car to Reynoso, there was a likelihood that he would use the car in a manner likely to cause harm. There was no evidence in the record that BCB had any actual knowledge that Reynoso would use the vehicle in a manner likely to cause harm. In addition, the Court could not conclude that BCB “had reason to know” that Reynoso would use the car in a manner likely to cause harm merely because he did not present a valid driver’s license. The judgment was affirmed.