TRALA Defends Industry Position in Vicarious Liability Cases

TRALA and its Industry Council for Vehicle Renting and Leasing filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals supporting federal law prohibiting states from imposing vicarious liability, the Association reports in a news release.

The brief supports Vanguard Car Rental’s position in the appeal of Garcia v. Vanguard. This is the first appeal of a positive vicarious liability decision to be heard in federal court and its results could have a significant impact on other pending and future cases.

In the initial Garcia v Vanguard decision, a U.S. District Court ruled that the federal statute known as the Graves Amendment preempts Florida vicarious liability laws. Consequently, the court found that pre-existing Florida law setting caps on vicarious liability involving short-term vehicle rentals is also preempted by the federal law.

Additionally, building on successful vicarious liability reform efforts in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, TRALA is now working with an international coalition in seeking the elimination of liability without fault in Alberta.

Currently, owners of rented and leased vehicles can be subject to unlimited liability in the province for the actions of customers operating their vehicles. TRALA and its Industry Council members, Budget and Enterprise, along with representatives from the Associated Canadian Car Rental Operators (ACCRO) recently met with Alberta provincial officials to discuss the vicarious liability issue.

For more information on TRALA’s industry involvement, contact Tom James at or at (703) 299-9120.

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