Ghezavat v. HarrisAnnotate this Case
In November 2011, John suffered a seizure while driving a Tacoma truck and struck a car occupied by the decedents. The Tacoma was jointly owned by John and his father, David. When they purchased the truck, in 2005, John, then 26, made the down payment. David co-signed the loan and made some payments. The truck was registered in both names. David paid for insurance and registration. John had sole possession of the keys and was the only driver. David was aware, no later than June 2011, that John suffered from a seizure disorder and that John had lost consciousness and control of his body at least once. David took no action to dissuade John from driving, such as canceling the Tacoma’s insurance. The decedents’ survivors sued both men. As to David, they alleged negligent entrustment. The jury found David knew or should have known that John was “incompetent or unfit to drive”; that David permitted John to drive the Tacoma; and that David’s permitting John to drive the Tacoma was a substantial factor in causing the deaths. The jury allocated 90 percent of fault to John and 10 percent to David. The court entered a judgment against David for $388,400. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting challenges to the jury instructions, to the sufficiency of the evidence, and to the admission of evidence that David owned a construction company.