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Summary Judgment in Truck-Auto Accident Case

Jim Dieterich and Dmitry Vilner recently won summary judgment on behalf of White and Steele’s client, a 24/7 HVAC service company.  A company employee had taken the keys to one of the company’s trucks without permission (permission was disputed), and used the truck to move his furniture during a holiday.  The employee then got into an accident with the plaintiffs.  The plaintiffs sued the employee and the company, arguing that the company owed them a duty to secure the truck keys from its employees during off-duty hours.

We successfully argued that our client, the HVAC company, did not owe the plaintiffs a duty of care to secure the keys to the truck from its own employee.  The court agreed, holding that due to the employee’s clean driving record and the absence of any similar incident at the company’s office in Colorado, it was not foreseeable that its employee would operate the truck negligently, even if he took it without permission.  Therefore, summary judgment was granted.