Petitioners, Raydel, Ltd., a corporation, and Alice Ross Soper, seek certiorari review by us of a decision of the District Court of Appeal, 3rd District, in the case of Raydel, Ltd., v. Medcalfe, 162 So.2d 910 (Fla.App. 3rd 1964). The salient facts of the case appear in the opinion in the decision below as follows:
The automobile in question was entrusted to both Mr. and Mrs. Medcalfe jointly as husband and wife. From the quoted facts they were either co-bailees of the car or their personal use of it at the time of the accident was in furtherance of a common purpose; viz., a fishing trip. Under either relationship they had jointly been entrusted and had control and dominion of the car for their personal purposes at the time of the accident. The facts negative the idea the car was entrusted only to Mr. Medcalfe and that he negligently operated it while his wife was merely his guest passenger in the car, injuring her.
Under the circumstances of this case, the decision of the District Court of Appeal conflicts with Frankel v. Fleming, 69 So.2d 887 (Fla. 1954). In that case Frankel rented a car from a rental car agency. He was the bailee of the car. While it was being negligently operated by one Wellener to whom Frankel had in turn entrusted the
The decision below also appears to conflict with Martin v. Lloyd Motor Co., 119 So.2d 413 (Fla.App. 1st 1960). In that case a car owned by one Jones was delivered to Lloyd Motor Co. to sell for the account of Jones; Lloyd Motor Co. entrusted it to one Coker to drive in order for him to determine if he wanted to purchase it. Coker drove it negligently, causing the death of another. Decedent's heirs sued Lloyd Motor Co., but their complaint was dismissed by the trial court for failing to state a cause of action. On appeal of the case, the District Court of Appeal stated the question of law to be decided was:
In answering this question the District Court of Appeal said:
See, also, the cases cited in accord in 62 A.L.R. 442, and 85 A.L.R. 631.
In Hale v. Adams, 117 So.2d 524 (Fla.App. 1st 1960), an owner sued the driver of owner's automobile to recover for injuries suffered by the owner, a passenger in the car, resulting from the driver's negligent operation of the automobile. The driver sought to escape liability by imputing his negligent operation of the car to the owner because the latter had entrusted the car to him to drive. In disallowing this contention the District Court of Appeal said "* * * the doctrine of imputed negligence has no application in an action by a principal against an agent." Similarly, the Medcalfes, as co-bailees, cannot impute their negligent operation of the automobile to Petitioners, who entrusted them the car and thus render Petitioners liable for injuries suffered by the Medcalfes or by one of them. Mrs. Medcalfe cannot impute to Petitioners, the owners of the car, the negligent operation of it by her husband, since with her husband she had been jointly entrusted with the car. Unless the negligent driving can be imputed in law to an owner there can be no recovery from the owner. Not only was Mrs. Medcalfe jointly entrusted with the car by the
It is well recognized that an owner of an automobile is not liable under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine for injuries sustained by the driver of the automobile to whom he entrusted it because of the driver's negligent operation of it. This principle was repeated in the recent case of Florida Power and Light Co. v. Price, 170 So.2d 293, 298 (Fla.), as follows:
The same rule applies where a bailee instead of driving the automobile himself permits a third party to drive it for him and is injured by the driver's negligence while a passenger in the car. Mrs. Medcalfe was in this category.
Clearly indicated in the above cases (although they are not factually paralleled with the instant case) cited for conflict is the legal principle that an owner, master, employer, principal or bailor who entrusts his automobile to an agent, servant, employee, bailee or other person is not civilly liable under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine to the person entrusted therewith for injuries sustained personally by that person solely because of the latter's negligent operation of the automobile, or solely because of the negligent operation thereof by a third person who in turn was entrusted with the automobile by the one initially entrusted with it.
This case is unlike the case of May v. Palm Beach Chemical Co., Fla., 77 So.2d 468, 472 (1955), where an automobile was entrusted only to a husband and was negligently operated by him resulting in injuries to his wife, a passenger in the car. There was no joint bailment in that case.
The dangerous instrumentality doctrine which is predicated upon the doctrine of respondeat superior ordinarily renders an owner of an automobile or other dangerous instrumentality liable for injuries sustained by third parties resulting from the negligent operation or use of the automobile or other dangerous instrumentality by one to whom it has been entrusted by the owner. Lynch v. Walker, 159 Fla. 188, 31 So.2d 268 (1947). However, there are exceptions to the application of these doctrines. Some cases illustrating these exceptions are Florida Power and Light Co. v. Price, supra; Fry v. Robinson Printers, Inc., 155 So.2d 645 (Fla.App.2d 1963), and Petite v. Welch, 167 So.2d 20 (Fla.App.3d 1964). These cases analogously indicate the owners in the instant case are not liable to the Respondent. Respondent was not a "third party" in the sense ordinarily contemplated in the application of the dangerous instrumentality doctrine. She and her husband were co-bailees or joint adventurers, having been entrusted jointly with the possession of the automobile for their personal use. In such status they cannot impute the negligent operation of the automobile by either of them to the Petitioners and recover damages for injuries to either of them arising therefrom.
On the merits, we do not believe the dangerous instrumentality doctrine applies where an automobile is entrusted to a husband and wife jointly and while it is in their personal use and under their dominion and control it is negligently operated by one of them, injuring one or both of them. Under such circumstances recovery for such injuries can not be had by either or both of them from the owner of the automobile.
THORNAL, C.J., and THOMAS, ROBERTS, DREW, O'CONNELL and CALDWELL, JJ., concur.