South-Western Legal Studies in Business

No Negligence Per Se for Renting Car to Person with Suspended License
Description

Mississippi high court held that it was not negligence per se for a car rental company to rent a car to a person who appeared to have a valid license, but in fact had a suspended license, who then caused an accident.

Topic Torts
Key Words

Negligence, Negligence Per Se, Rental Car

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Rogers rented a car from Enterprise rent-a-car. She gave the Enterprise employee her license when she rented the car. Unknown to the employee was that the license had been suspended. The next day, Rogers ran a stop sign and hit another car, injuring Cousin, who required surgery. Rogers was cited for driving with a suspended license. Cousin sued Enterprise, claiming negligence per se for renting a car to a person with a suspended license. The trial court dismissed the complaint; Cousin appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. Mississippi law requires that rental companies only rent to persons who have valid licenses. But it was not negligence per se, in violation of the statute, to rent to a person who had a license that appeared to be valid. Enterprise was not negligent for entrusting a car to a person with a license that appeared to be valid.

Citation

Cousin v. Enterprise Leasing Co., 948 So.2d 1287 (Sup. Ct., Miss., 2007)

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