Puerini v. LaPierreAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court ruling that federal law preempted state statutes authorizing vicarious liability of a car owner for the negligent acts of the driver, holding that the federal Graves Amendment, 49 U.S.C. 30106, preempts this state's laws allowing a party injured in a motor vehicle accident to recover from the title owner of a vehicle through the owner's vicarious liability for the negligence of the driver.
Plaintiff was operating his motorcycle when an automobile turned in front of him, resulting in a collision and multiple serious injuries to Plaintiff. Plaintiff named as a defendant the owner of the car - the corporate entity to which the car lease had been assigned - alleging vicarious liability for the negligent acts of the driver. The hearing justice granted summary judgment for the owner. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Grave Amendment preempts any state statute imposing vicarious liability on the title owner of the vehicle the driver in question was driving when the collision occurred.