In an action to recover damages sustained in an automobile accident, judgment was entered on a verdict for plaintiff against the owner of a family-purpose car and another defendant who had been driving at the time of the accident with the permission of the owner's minor son. On appeal, held: Judgment against the owner reversed and remanded with directions to dismiss. The Supreme Court of Nebraska, committed to the family purpose doctrine at least since 1922, has applied the doctrine consistently in a well-developed line of cases. In the instant case, however, the court has clearly limited extension of the doctrine; the owner of a family car is not liable for the negligence of a third party driving that car without the owner's knowledge, consent, or direction, and not in the performance of his work, even where permission has been given by a member of the owner's family present in the automobile at the time with authority to drive the car himself. Although there is no specific language to this effect in the opinion, the decision will most likely be construed as applying the family purpose doctrine to drivers who are members of the family, but as requiring a showing that a third-party driver was acting with the owner's knowledge, consent, or direction.
Don H. Sherwood,
Automobiles—Family Purpose Doctrine—Nebraska Rejects Extension to Third Person Driving with Permission of Accompanying Family Member,
40 Neb. L. Rev. 549
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol40/iss3/13