Hawkins Parnell Obtains Summary Judgment for Car Rental Company

April 25, 2023 – Press Release

April 25, 2023 (Los Angeles, CA) – Litigator Crystal Le of Hawkins Parnell's Orange County office secured a summary judgment victory for a rental car company client in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles.

The case arose from an auto accident involving one of the client's rental cars rented by a customer and driven by an authorized driver, resulting in personal injuries to a plaintiff and her passenger. The plaintiffs sued the client, claiming negligent ownership and negligent entrustment.

Hawkins Parnell argued in the motion that the car rental company has immunity under the Graves Amendment because they were neither negligent nor engaged in criminal wrongdoing that contributed to those injuries. Plaintiffs countered that mere ownership of the vehicle results in liability, that the client contractually is obligated to provide coverage to its customers, and that the minimum insurance amounts required for the rental vehicle involved in the accident must be made available for plaintiffs' recovery.

Crystal wrote a reply brief to the opposition asserting the Plaintiffs complete misinterpretation of the essence of 49 U.S.C. § 30106 and that Hawkins Parnell's client satisfied all its obligations under federal and state laws, that there was no evidence of negligence or criminal conduct by the client, and that Plaintiffs failed to present any triable issue of material fact to defeat the motion. The court agreed with the arguments presented in the motion and reply, resulting in the court disposing of all claims against the client.