Ontario Civil

Civil Procedure

Owner of vehicle leased to stranger should be expected to ensure transmission brake worked

Plaintiff was mechanic. Plaintiff confirmed vehicle was in parked position and proceeded to go under vehicle to complete repair. Plaintiff cut manual brake line and without warning vehicle began to roll because transmission brake was not functioning. Plaintiff’s left arm and hand were crushed by tire of vehicle causing serious and permanent injuries. Plaintiff argued defendant knew or should have known of defect but failed to place adequate warning on vehicle or to bring it to plaintiff’s attention. Defendant brought motion to strike out allegations of negligence against it. Motion was dismissed. Defendant would have or should have known and it was foreseeable that vehicle would roll if renter of vehicle did not engage parking brake and relied instead on transmission brake. If plaintiff established defendant leased vehicle with knowledge that transmission brake on vehicle did not work, there was reasonable chance court would find requisite proximity. There were ample reasons to find there were sound policy reasons for finding owner of vehicle that leased vehicle to stranger should be expected to ensure transmission brake worked, failing which there should have been warning not to rely on transmission brake.

Pelletier v. U-Haul Co. (Canada) Ltd. (Jun. 13, 2013, Ont. S.C.J., E.J. Koke J., File No. Sault Ste. Marie 2435/08) 232 A.C.W.S. (3d) 325.

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