The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

NY Court Holds Federal Vicarious Liability Repeal Unconstitutional

September 18, 2006

NEW YORK CITY – The constitutionality of federal legislation that eliminates vicarious liability for owners of rented and leased vehicles has been called into question by a New York court. On Sept. 11, the Supreme Court in Queens County, N.Y., denied a motion made by Nissan Infiniti, LT in Graham v. Dunkley and Nilt, Inc. to dismiss a vicarious liability claim. The motion to dismiss was based on the federal statute (49 USC 30106) that prohibits states from imposing vicarious liability.

Judge Thomas Polizzi, in denying the motion, held that the federal statute “is an unconstitutional exercise of congressional authority under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8.”

To date, courts in N.Y., Maine, and Conn., have all upheld the preemptive authority of the federal vicarious liability repeal statute over state law. The action this week in Graham v. Dunkley and Nilt, Inc. is the first case in which a court has ruled against the constitutionality of the federal statute. TRALA and its Industry Council for Vehicle Renting and Leasing are reviewing the case and will provide industry support for arguments to uphold the federal statute.

Twitter Facebook Google+


Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:

Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.


Fleet Management And Leasing

Merchants Experts will answer your questions and challenges

View All
Sponsored by

Agreement whereby in a closed-end lease, usually a full maintenance one, as a strategic commitment to the concept of true partnering with the customer, the leasing company makes all components of the rental calculation known to the lessee.

Read more

Up Next

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher