Wheels for Hire, a new and used car dealership, hired Sam Spade to perform various duties, such as cleaning and gassing vehicles, moving vehicles from one lot to another and maintaining the showroom and vehicle lots. In this position, Sam had access to keys to the vehicle through an “ignition kiosk access process.” Under this process, a designated attendant, Curly Hurley, keeps the keys in a restricted kiosk. When any employee wants to move a company vehicle, s/he must fill out a key “tag” or request form, which contains spaces for the date, time, stock number of vehicle, name of employee checking out the vehicle, and the destination of the vehicle. For example, the vehicle might be taken to a body shop for repairs or to a gas station, or to a company lot at a different location. Every time an employee checks out a vehicle, the reason must be for company business use. It was not necessary to put the expected return time on the tag, but if a vehicle was expected to be gone for a long time, this information was supposed to be put on the tag. Sometimes Curly fills the tag out for the employee. When the tag is completed, Curly adds the information from the tag to key control log, gives the keys to the employee who has requested them, and hangs the tag on the board in the control shack. When the vehicle is returned Curly crosses out the entry for the vehicle in the control log, replaces the keys, and removes the tag from the board. Sometimes vehicles are gone for more than one day, but a new page of the control entry is started each day. Some vehicles may be removed permanently if they are sold from another lot. In these cases, the managers of the other lots call to let Curly know that the vehicle will not be coming back. Sometimes employees would drive cars back and leave the keys with other employees. This practice was acceptable to the dealership.
One day Sam asked Curly if he could use a car for 30 minutes on his lunch break to go to his mother’s house. Curly told him it was okay as long as he brought it back because, otherwise, she could get in trouble. Sam took the car and left. On his way back to the dealership, Sam rear-ended a car stopped at a stop light, causing injuries to the driver and a passenger. Sam told a police officer at the scene of the accident that he was on a lunch break from his job and that he had permission to drive the car, but his boss was not aware he had the car.
The role of Defendant should post a well-reasoned analysis to support the Defendant car dealership.