Many lawyers are unfamiliar with the 2005 Graves Amendment, 49 U.S.C. § 30106(a). This federal law eliminates vicarious liability claims against vehicle rental companies based exclusively on a company’s status as the owner of the vehicle. Most direct challenges to the law have failed. But practitioners have found ways around effects of the law and may use those same methods to overcome Nevada’s limitations to claims against rental car companies.
The legislation was meant to protect vehicle rental companies from vicarious liability claims. Anglero v. Hanif, 140 A.D.3d 905, (N.Y. App. Div. 2016). The statute preempts contrary state law. See Carton v. Gen. Motor Acceptance Corp., 611 F.3d 451, 456 (8th Cir. 2010); Curry v. Raymond, No. 15-2314, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55472, at *6 (E.D. La. Apr. 26, 2016). [Continue reading]