California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

723. Liability of Cosigner of Minor's Application for Driver's License

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723.Liability of Cosigner of Minor’s Application for Driver’s
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she] was harmed by [name of minor]’s
negligence in operating the vehicle and that [name of defendant] is
responsible for the harm because [name of defendant] signed [name of
minor]’s application for a driver’s license. To establish this claim, [name
of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of minor] was negligent in operating the vehicle;
2. That [name of plaintiff] was harmed;
3. That [name of minor]’s negligence was a substantial factor in
causing the harm;
4. That [name of defendant] signed [name of minor]’s application for
a driver’s license; and
5. That at the time of the collision [name of minor]’s driver’s license
had not been canceled or revoked by the Department of Motor
New September 2003
Sources and Authority
• Liability of Cosigner of Minor’s Driver’s License Application. Vehicle Code
section 17707.
• No Liability if Minor is Agent of Another. Vehicle Code section 17710.
• Application for Relief From Liability. Vehicle Code section 17711.
• “Cancellation accomplishes voluntarily what revocation [of minor’s driver’s
license] accomplishes involuntarily. If termination is accomplished by the latter
method, resort to the former becomes superfluous. Once revocation occurs, the
driving privilege is at an end. Thereafter there is no reason and no necessity for
a voluntary application to terminate that which has already been terminated
involuntarily. Both means are equally effective to terminate the driving privilege
and to terminate the signer’s liability.” (Hamilton v. Dick (1967) 254
Cal.App.2d 123, 125 [61 Cal.Rptr. 894].)
• “[T]he negligence of the minor son of the [parents] is imputed to them . . . by
virtue of their having signed his application for an operator’s license, which
was not revoked or cancelled at the time of the accident in question,
notwithstanding the fact that the license was then temporarily suspended” and
even though the parents specifically forbade the minor from operating the
vehicle. (Sleeper v. Woodmansee (1936) 11 Cal.App.2d 595, 598 [54 P.2d 519].)
• “It seems quite evident that, in adopting [the predecessors to sections 17150 and
17707] of the Vehicle Code, the legislature intended to create a limited liability
for imputed negligence against both the owner of an automobile and the signer
of a driver’s license. . . . We must assume the legislature intended to fix a
limited liability . . . for imputed negligence against the owner of an automobile
and the signer of a driver’s license or either of them and that it did not intend
to double that limited liability when the same individual was both the owner of
the machine and the signer of the license.” (Rogers v. Foppiano (1937) 23
Cal.App.2d 87, 92–93 [72 P.2d 239].)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 1256–1259
California Tort Guide (Cont.Ed.Bar 3d ed.) Automobiles, §§ 4.41, 4.43
2 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 20, Motor Vehicles, § 20.30[2] (Matthew
8 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 82, Automobiles: Causes of
Action, § 82.16, Ch. 83, Automobiles: Bringing the Action, § 83.134 (Matthew
2 California Civil Practice: Torts § 25:52 (Thomson Reuters)