ENGLAND, Chief Justice.
In Bickley v. Castillo, 346 So.2d 625, 626 (Fla. 3d DCA 1977), the Third District Court of Appeal held that:
That decision is brought here as being in direct conflict
In Susco we said:
Similarly, the court in Jordan stated that automobile owners are liable for injuries sustained by persons on the public highway as a result of the negligence of anyone operating the car with the owner's knowledge and consent.
Decisions of the district courts since Susco reveal a reluctance to apply the broad
In Harfred, Judge McCord carefully analyzed the state of Florida law on this issue and opted to follow the nationwide majority rule of owner liability only in cases where the doctrine of respondeat superior (the master responds for the acts of the servant) pertains. We approve the reasoning expressed in Harfred insofar as it relates to the applicability of the dangerous instrumentality doctrine in situations involving automotive service agencies,
Our decision to pare back the dangerous instrumentality doctrine in service station and repairman situations stems from considerations of both social policy and pragmatism. An automobile owner is generally able to select the persons to whom a vehicle may be entrusted for general use, but he rarely has authority and control over the operation or use of the vehicle when it is turned over to a firm in the business of service and repair. Moreover, an owner often has no acceptable alternative to relinquishing control of his vehicle to a service center, after which he has no ability to ensure the public safety until the vehicle is returned to his dominion. Persons injured by the acts of garage and service repair agencies are not, however, without protection for their losses. They can and in logic should look to the perpetrator of the injury, who frequently is better able to use due care and to insure against the financial risks of injury.
For these reasons, we hold that the owner of a motor vehicle is not liable for injuries caused by the negligence of the repairman or serviceman with whom the vehicle has been left, so long as the owner does not exercise control over the injury-causing operation of the vehicle during the servicing, service-related testing, or transport of the vehicle, and is not otherwise negligent.
The decision of the Third District Court of Appeal is approved.
It is so ordered.
OVERTON, SUNDBERG, HATCHETT and ALDERMAN, JJ., concur.
ADKINS, J., dissents with an opinion, with which BOYD, J., concurs.
BOYD, J., dissents with an opinion, with which ADKINS, J., concurs.
ADKINS, Justice, Dissenting.
I dissent. It is quite clear that the principle of respondeat superior and the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine are two separate bases of vicarious liability in tort. Susco Car Rental; Nichols v. McGraw, 152 So.2d 486 (Fla. 1st DCA 1963); Ivey v.
The correct reasoning is found in Jordan v. Kelson, 299 So.2d 109 (Fla. 4th DCA 1974), where the court said:
The decision of the district court should be quashed.
BOYD, J., concurs.
BOYD, Justice, dissenting.
The majority muddies the state of automobile liability law and its paring back of the broad rule of Susco Car Rental System of Florida v. Leonard, 112 So.2d 832 (Fla. 1959) may result in more serious injustice than it prevents.
The last sentence of the opinion frees from liability the motor vehicle owner who leaves the vehicle with a serviceman so long as he is not in control or "otherwise negligent." It raises a question of whether an owner is liable when leaving a car with a mechanic when he knows or suspects the repairman is uninsured or is an irresponsible person. The decision prevents innocent third parties from recovering from fully insured owners if the damages are caused by a garage owner or his mechanics. As between a serviceman in control of the injury-causing operation of the vehicle and the vehicle's owner, I agree that the serviceman should be primarily liable. But where the serviceman, for insolvency or lack of insurance, is unable to cover the loss, I think it is better that the owner of the dangerous instrumentality bear the loss rather than the innocent injured party.
In Susco the car had been leased by a car rental agency to a person who agreed that no persons other than himself would be permitted to drive it. In violation of the rental agreement, a third person drove the car and caused the damages. This Court held the owner liable. In this case the owner impliedly consented to the operation of the car by the garage owner and mechanic. Under Susco the owner here must be held liable. I dissent in favor of the certainty and the broad rule of Susco.
ADKINS, J., concurs.