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toot.sweet

I'm trying to remember a legal term (might be Latin, might not) & need help

9 posts in this topic

I hired a licensed, bonded tree service about 6 months ago. This is a highly reputable service I've used regularly for years.

 

About 6 months ago one of their employees asked if he could "temporarily" store his little coupe car in my wooded land.  The coupe had suffered a very nasty buckle to the driver's side door when an uninsured lady plowed into him.  I explained that if he wanted to store it monthly it would be $100/month.  He assured me this was a temporary request while his automobile insurance company processed the claim and he would be by in a "matter of days" to tow it to his home.  Six months later he will not pay me the $600 he owes me.

 

The owner, as I said, is licensed & bonded.  I've never had a disagreement with him once, but for some reason he refuses to accept any responsibility for his employee.  Do I have any rights to make a claim on his insurance?  If you read the other thread I posted to this forum you'll see that I am effectively bankrupt and there is a very real possibility I will be homeless at some point in the next year, the County preparing for the Tax Sale of my home on unpaid property taxes, deferred for a few more months. $600 is not a small matter to me right now, particularly as PG&E is threatening to turn off my electricity.

 

Many years ago I was a Sr. Litigation Secretary and I seem to recall there was a legal term for when a party attempts to shift a portion or all of his liability to a third party.  A term so ubiquitous it's been impossible for me to narrow it down: transfer? convert? replace? attach? I'm sorry, I'm not describing this very well.  Even if I don't have a case I would still like to be reminded of that legal term. Thank you for your help. 

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Perhaps you are thinking of vicarious liability.  However, I don't see where  you have a case here.  Employers are liable for their employees actions when they are conducted in the course and scope of their employment.  The employer here would argue that the employee storing a car on your property with your initial permission, is no where near the course and scope of his employment.

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11 hours ago, toot.sweet said:

Even if I don't have a case I would still like to be reminded of that legal term.

 

Doucar's definition is know as the "master-servant" rule. In Latin "Respondeat Superior."

 

But that doesn't apply to your private agreement with the car owner. His employer has no responsibility here.

 

Here's a couple of resources explaining how to handle an abandoned vehicle on private property:

 

http://consumerwiki.dca.ca.gov/wiki/index.php/Abandoned_Vehicles

 

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/df58b076-6c1c-42f9-bcc4-3075dba6cf94/chapter5.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

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12 hours ago, toot.sweet said:

The owner, as I said, is licensed & bonded.

 

You didn't say that.  You said that the vehicle owner is an employee of a company that is licensed and bonded.  Big difference.  Or are you talking about the owner of the licensed/bonded company?

 

 

12 hours ago, toot.sweet said:

for some reason he refuses to accept any responsibility for his employee.

 

Why would the owner of the company that employs the person who stored his car on your property "accept any responsibility" for an arrangement you made with the employee that has nothing whatsoever to do with your use of the company's services?

 

 

12 hours ago, toot.sweet said:

Do I have any rights to make a claim on his insurance?

 

Whose insurance?  What sort of insurance?  Regardless of your answer, nothing you've described would give rise to any sort claim by you against anyone's insurance.

 

 

12 hours ago, toot.sweet said:

I seem to recall there was a legal term for when a party attempts to shift a portion or all of his liability to a third party.  A term so ubiquitous it's been impossible for me to narrow it down: transfer? convert? replace? attach? I'm sorry, I'm not describing this very well.  Even if I don't have a case I would still like to be reminded of that legal term.

 

I'm not aware of any particular term that fits this description (although I think the guesses in the prior responses are reasonable).

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15 hours ago, doucar said:

Perhaps you are thinking of vicarious liability.  However, I don't see where  you have a case here.

Fair enough doucar. But no, vicarious was not the word.

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3 hours ago, adjusterjack said:

 

Doucar's definition is know as the "master-servant" rule. In Latin "Respondeat Superior."

 

But that doesn't apply to your private agreement with the car owner. His employer has no responsibility here.

Fair enough adjusterjack.  That term was definitely not Respondeat Superior, and I'm beginning to wonder if my memory is at fault here. Won't be the first time.

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3 hours ago, pg1067 said:

Whose insurance?  What sort of insurance?  Regardless of your answer, nothing you've described would give rise to any sort claim by you against anyone's insurance. I'm not aware of any particular term that fits this description (although I think the guesses in the prior responses are reasonable).

 

pg1067 . . .

As I said, I'm not doing a good job of explaining this. There are of course 2 parties insured:  the Contractor/Employer, with his professional liability insurance; and the vehicle owner, with his personal automobile insurance. As others have responded, I have no basis for involving the Employer Contractor. Thank you anyway.

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3 hours ago, toot.sweet said:

There are of course 2 parties insured:  the Contractor/Employer, with his professional liability insurance; and the vehicle owner, with his personal automobile insurance. As others have responded, I have no basis for involving the Employer Contractor.

 

Nor is there any basis for involving the employee/vehicle owner's personal auto insurer.  No portion of a personal auto policy covers the owner's liability for charges for voluntarily storing his/her vehicle.  The only liable party here is the owner of the vehicle, and no insurance coverage exists for this sort of thing.

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On 3/13/2017 at 11:42 PM, toot.sweet said:

Many years ago I was a Sr. Litigation Secretary and I seem to recall there was a legal term for when a party attempts to shift a portion or all of his liability to a third party.  A term so ubiquitous it's been impossible for me to narrow it down: transfer? convert? replace? attach? I'm sorry, I'm not describing this very well.  Even if I don't have a case I would still like to be reminded of that legal term. Thank you for your help. 

 

My guess is that you are thinking of the term transferee liability. But that term does not have the meaning you described. There are various terms for when one person might be responsible for the debts or acts of another, and which one applies depends on the particular circumstances involved.

 

Here, there is no third party that you may put on the hook for the $600 storage fee nor can the car owner somehow get around what he owes by claiming someone is liable. What you have here is a simple contract for a bailment for hire. He entrusted the car to you to store for him for a fee of $100/month. He has not paid as agreed, so there is a breach of contract. You could sue the car owner for a judgment for the $600 in small claims court. Or you may qualify to sell the car to satisfy the lien that arises in your favor in vehicle storage situations. See the information from the California DMV on How to Conduct a Lien Sale for information on that. 

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