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Puckrein v. ATI Transport, Inc.

New Jersey Supreme Court
897 A.2d 1034 (2006)


Facts

A truck owned by ATI (defendant) struck and killed the Puckreins. The truck was unregistered, uninsured, and had defective brakes. BFI (defendant) had hired ATI to haul waste from BFI’s facilities to an incinerator in another state, but failed to inquire about the ATI truck’s ability to drive on the roads legally. Representatives of the Puckreins (plaintiffs) brought a negligence claim against ATI and BFI. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of BFI, holding that ATI was an independent contractor. On appeal, the Puckreins’ representatives claimed that BFI should be vicariously liable for ATI’s negligence because it hired an incompetent independent contractor.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Long, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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