Can Vicarious Liability Be Imposed on a Parent Who Buys a Car for a Child Residing at Home ?
In Wilsen v. Lesser, 434 So. 2d 1033 (Fla. 3d DCA 1983), the father purchased a vehicle for his eighteen-year-old daughter, who resided with her parents. See id. at 1033.
The motor vehicle was titled in the daughter's name.
A friend of the daughter's negligently drove the vehicle and crashed into plaintiff's vehicle. See id.
The plaintiff brought suit against the daughter's father "on the theory that he bought the automobile for his daughter, who resided at home with her parents, and that he exercised some control over its operation." Id. the Third District upheld the granting of a summary judgment in favor of the father, concluding there was no genuine issue of material fact on the issue of vicarious liability. See id.
Although no further facts are set forth in the opinion, the Third District's opinion, like the Fourth District's opinion in Aurbach, holds as a matter of law that the fact that a parent buys a motor vehicle for a child who resides at home and exercises some control over the operation of the motor vehicle is insufficient by itself to impose vicarious liability under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine. See Wilsen, 434 So. 2d at 1033.