This action arises from a rear end motor vehicle accident. The at-fault driver was operating a transport truck. The tractor portion was registered to Orchid Leasing Corp., however as of the time of the accident the tractor’s driver had made final payment on the lease, had received a bill of sale and ownership documentation, and had a letter authorizing transfer of ownership. In essence, the only “ownership” that Orchid had as of the time of the accident was as the registered owner with the MTO.
Orchid brought a summary judgment motion on the grounds that it was not the owner of the tractor and therefore was not vicariously liable under the Highway Traffic Act. Justice Hebner accepted the defendant’s position and granted the motion, dismissing the claim as against Orchid. Justice Hebner accepted that: Orchid agreed to sell the tractor to the driver and the driver paid the purchase price in full; Orchid gave the driver the necessary paperwork to transfer ownership; Orchid exercised no possession or control over the vehicle at the time of the accident; there was no evidence that Orchid retained keys to the vehicle; Orchid was not in a position to provide consent or withhold consent to operation of the vehicle at the material time; and Orchid did not have an insurance interest in the vehicle at the material time.