Banks v. Int'l Rental & Leasing Corp., No. 08-1603 (3d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Barnabas rented a van from Budget and gave Dewindt permission to use it without listing her as an authorized driver on the rental agreement. Dewindt was driving down a steep hill when the brakes failed. Dewindt attempted to stop by driving onto an uphill driveway. The van crashed into a tree, injuring the passengers. Barnabas was not in the van. The district court entered summary judgment for Budget. The Third Circuit reversed and remanded on claims of strict liability, breach of warranty, and loss of consortium. The district court erroneously relied on cases decided under the Second Restatement of Torts which does not recognize strict liability claims against lessorss. Strict liability under the Third Restatement would reach Budget as lessor/distributor of the allegedly defective van. The Third Circuit had certified the question and the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands responded that Virgin Islands local courts should apply sections 1 and 20 of the Third Restatement and allow lessors to be held strictly liable for injuries resulting from a defective product. The district court should also determine whether plaintiffs may rely on warranties in the rental agreement with Budget.