Malchose v. Kalfell

664 N.W.2d 508 (2003)

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Malchose v. Kalfell

North Dakota Supreme Court
664 N.W.2d 508 (2003)

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Facts

Lance and Lisa Kalfell (defendants) purchased a vehicle and provided it to their son, Eric Kalfell (defendant), before he went to college. While Eric was at college, his family’s address remained listed on his driver’s license, he was financially supported by his parents, and his parents claimed him as a dependent on their tax return. One day, Eric got into a car accident with Kelly Malchose (plaintiff). Malchose sued, seeking to recover damages from Eric on a negligence theory and damages from Lance and Lisa based on the family-car doctrine. Lance and Lisa argued that the family-car doctrine was inapplicable because Eric was an adult living away from home at the time of the accident. They also claimed that although their names remained on the vehicle’s title, Eric was the owner. As evidence, they showed that Eric used the vehicle as collateral for a loan. The trial court held in Malchose’s favor, finding Eric negligent and holding Eric, Lance, and Lisa liable for damages. The three Kalfells appealed, contesting, among other things, the trial court’s application of the family-car doctrine.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Neumann, J.)

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