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Erickson v. Irving

Florida Court of Appeals
16 So.3d 868 (2009)


Facts

Three friends, Robert Irving (defendant), David Long (defendant), and Joseph Sindoni, Jr., attended a scotch-tasting event. Irving drove the friends to the event, but he decided to leave with someone else. Irving gave his keys to Long, who agreed to return the car later. Long asked Sindoni if Sindoni wanted to drive, but Sindoni refused. Long and Sindoni left and drove to another bar. After about 45 minutes, Long and Sindoni left the bar, with Long driving again. The car collided with a dump truck operated by Abelardo Pupo (defendant) and owned by Community Asphalt (defendant). Sindoni was killed in the crash. Long pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter. Diane Erickson (plaintiff) sued Irving, Long, Pupo, and Community Asphalt, as personal representative of Sindoni’s estate. Long and Irving raised the defenses of comparative negligence and joint enterprise. The trial court denied Erickson’s request to strike the defense of joint enterprise and instructed the jury on the defense. The jury allocated liability to Pupo at 5 percent, Community Asphalt at 5 percent, Irving at 20 percent, Long at 35 percent, and Sindoni at 35 percent. The trial court determined that the joint enterprise doctrine required Long’s negligence to be imputed to Sindoni. The trial court then awarded judgment to Erickson for zero dollars against Long, approximately $7,000 to Pupo and Community Asphalt each, and approximately $28,000 to Irving. Erickson appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lagoa, J.)

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