On September 25, 2007, an owner of a family shoe store in St. James, New York asked some friends and family to help move the store to its new location in Stony Brook, New York. In order to accomplish this task, the owner took one of the volunteers with her to a rental truck dealership to rent a truck to move the items from one store to the other. The card that she used to rent the truck was her corporate credit card.
The truck was loaded at the old store and driven to the new store where it was backed up and unloaded without incident. Upon return to the old store, one of the volunteers was driving the truck while another one was holding the ramp of the truck while they tried to position the ramp on the top of the stairs to make it easier to load. The truck lurched backward and the ramp fell injuring the volunteer’s ankle. The volunteer filed a lawsuit naming the rental truck company and the owner of the store as well as the store as a corporation liable for her injury.
The rental truck company and the owner of the store both make motions for summary judgment eliminating them from liability as it regards compensation to this person. The rental truck company states that the person was operating a rental truck which had no faults and under law they cannot be held responsible for the usage of the contracted person who is driving the truck. Further, they point out that the subjects were using the truck in a method that is clearly stated in the contract and on the back of the truck as prohibited. The truck is marked clearly above the ramp area that the ramp is not to be pulled out unless the truck is stopped and in park and not to hold the ramp while the truck is in motion.
On the part of the owner of the company, she states that the person was a volunteer and that she holds no personal responsibility to this person for injuries incurred while she was volunteering to help them. The court agrees that the owner in no way acted outside of her role as the proprietress of the business and should not be held personally liable for any damages.
As far as the rental truck company, the court also finds that they are in no way at fault for the actions of the person who rented and or was driving the truck. It is also not responsible for the actions of the volunteer who blatantly disregarded the warnings about the use of the ramp.
Summary judgment dismissing both parties from the lawsuit was granted. Although it seemed like some petite larceny was involved, no criminal charges were levied.
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