289 U.S. 253 (1933), 643, Young v. Masci

Docket Nº:No. 643
Citation:289 U.S. 253, 53 S.Ct. 599, 77 L.Ed. 1158
Party Name:Young v. Masci
Case Date:April 24, 1933
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 253

289 U.S. 253 (1933)

53 S.Ct. 599, 77 L.Ed. 1158




No. 643

United States Supreme Court

April 24, 1933

        Argued March 24, 1933




        A state statute making the owner of an automobile liable for personal injuries resulting from its negligent operation by another to whom he has entrusted it is consistent with due process as applied to a nonresident owner who was not in that state when the accident occurred and who had merely lent his machine to one not his agent or engaged on business for him, with express or implied permission to take it there from the the owner's residence, where the bailment occurred and whose laws did not impose such liability. P. 256.

        109 N.J.L. 453 affirmed.

        Appeal from a judgment affirming a recovery for personal injuries.

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        BRANDEIS, J., lead opinion

        MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.

        A New York statute provides:

Every owner of a motor vehicle or motor cycle operated upon a public highway shall be liable and responsible for death or injuries

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to person or property resulting from negligence in the operation of such motor vehicle or motorcycle, in the business of such owner or otherwise, by any person legally using or operating the same with the permission, express or implied, of such owner.

        Laws N.Y. 1929, Vol. 1, p. 82, Vehicle and Traffic Law § 59.

        Masci, a citizen and resident of New York, brought this action in a court of New Jersey against Young, a citizen and resident of the latter state, to enforce liability under the above statute. The case was tried before a jury. It appeared that Young lent his automobile to Michael Balbino for a day without restriction upon its use, the contract of bailment and delivery of the car being made in New Jersey; that Balbino took the car to New York, and that, while driving there, negligently he struck Masci. There was evidence to justify a finding that the car was taken to New York with Young's permission, express or implied. Young moved for a directed verdict on the ground that the bailment was made in New Jersey; that he was not in New York at the time of the accident; that Balbino was not his agent or engaged on business for him, and that to apply the law of New York and so make the defendant responsible for something done by Balbino in New York would deprive the defendant of his property and his liberty without due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The presiding judge declined to direct the verdict; ruled that, if negligence was proved, the law of New York was controlling on the question of liability, and charged that the defendant was responsible if the operator "was driving this automobile at the time of the accident with the permission of the defendant, either express or implied." The jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, and the judgment entered thereon was affirmed by the highest court of that state. 109 N.J.Law 453, 162 A. 623.

        Young appealed to this Court on the ground, among others, that the statute as applied violates the due process

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clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. He does not challenge...

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