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McKenna v. Straughan

California Court of Appeal
222 Cal. Rptr. 462 (1986)


Facts

Even though she had a serious drinking problem and a history of drunk driving, Cherie Straughan’s parents (defendants) loaned her money to buy a car. Ten days later, Cherie drove that car drunk, onto the wrong side of the road, hitting her hairdresser, Pamela McKenna (plaintiff), in a head-on collision. Cherie had been through eight recovery homes and lived with her parents after wrecking her previous car, but was still drinking. McKenna, who saw Cherie every Saturday at the salon, urged her parents not to buy her another car, but her mother said she was tired of driving her to AA meetings. McKenna responded, “Why give her another one? That’s like giving a six-year-old a loaded gun and telling them not to use it.” The Straughans nonetheless bought a car in Cherie’s name, with her father listed as lienholder. McKenna sued the Straughans under a negligent-entrustment theory. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Straughans because they did not actually own or control the car, so arguably never entrusted it to Cherie. McKenna appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kintner, J.)

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