Osegueda v. Turo, et. al. and Basurto v. Turo, et. al.
The related cases revolve around a 2-car accident and third-party pedestrian who was injured in the same. YOKA | SMITH represented Turo and the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident Ilia Ivanov. Mr. Ivanov rented his Ford Mustang to co-defendant Josh Hermans on July 21, 2019, through the Turo platform. After Mr. Hermans picked up the Mustang on the afternoon of July 21, 2019, he allegedly had a couple of drinks that evening around 10:00 pm before continuing to drive the Mustang around. At approx. 2:00 am on July 22, 2019, he caused a 2-vehicle accident with Plaintiff Juan Osegueda’s vehicle. As a result of the collision, the Mustang hit Plaintiff Trejo Basurto who was standing on the street.
Plaintiffs sued Turo, Mr. Ivanov and Mr. Herman for general negligence and motor vehicle negligence. Plaintiffs alleged that Turo and Mr. Ivanov were liable under a negligent entrustment theory.
Christine DeMetruis drafted four motions wherein she laid out that there was no evidence that Mr. Hermans was unfit to drive the Mustang at the time he rented vehicle or when he picked it up. Accordingly, Turo, as the owner of the vehicle under the law when it was driven under Turo’s reservation, could not be held liable on a negligent entrustment theory. Likewise, since Turo was considered the owner of the vehicle under the law, Mr. Ivanov had no liability in this matter. Plaintiffs argued that because Mr. Hermans had posted on his Facebook page (4-5 years prior to the accident) pictures of himself engaging in underage drinking and potentially smoking marijuana (and Turo could have found these images) that Turo should have precluded Mr. Hermans from reserving the Mustang. Plaintiffs also argued that Mr. Ivanov could be held liable under a negligent entrustment theory because he could have imposed certain restrictions, like an age requirement, on who could rent his vehicle through the Turo Platform. Christine’s reply briefs focused the Court on the central issue – there was no evidence that Mr. Hermans was unfit to drive the Mustang when he made the reservation and picked it up.
After a strong oral argument by Christopher Leyel, the Court granted the motions as requested. Mr. Ivanov’s Motion for Summary Judgment were granted and Turo’s Motion for Summary Adjudication were granted. Plaintiffs’ Complaints against Mr. Ivanov are dismissed. Likewise, Plaintiffs’ theories against Turo are dismissed except for its statutory liability as the vehicle owner, with damages capped at $15,000 per Plaintiff.