Business Associations, Pages 8–13

Gorton v. Doty

Supreme Court of Idaho, 1937

Facts:

Plaintiff's son was injured in a car crash while riding in defendant's vehicle. The injured's football coach was driving defendant's car, which she loaned him. Defendant did not direct the coach's work and was not paid, but the school paid for the gas and defendant conditioned the use on the coach driving her car.

Procedural History:

Jury returned a verdict for plaintiffs for $5,870, which a judgment was entered upon.

Issue:

Was the coach the agent of defendant while driving her car?

Rule:

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"[A]gency" is the relationship which results from the manifestation of consent by one person to another that the other shall act on his behalf and subject to his control, and consent by the other so to act.

Reasoning:

It is clear that both defendant and the coach consent for him to drive her car. While no contract or compensation is present, neither is necessary for agency. Defendant did not explicitly say that she was loaning her car and that the coach was borrowing it, which is enough evidence to find that the coach was acting as an agent of defendant's.

Holding:

Yes, the coach was defendant's agent while driving her car. Affirmed.

Dissenting Opinion:

Budge: There is no evidence to support that the coach was defendant's agent at any time until the accident. An agent is one who manages another's business or affairs by the other's authority. It is not enough to have permission. There must be some instruction given of what to do. These two worked separately at the school and the coach handled the use of defendant's car on his own. Defendant simply loaned him her car out of the kindness of her heart. The only reason she specified the coach to drive her car is so that one of the teenagers would no drive it—a natural request.

Defendant loaned the car to the coach for his benefit—not for her own. She merely wanted to avoid an accident, she did not make him her agent. The judgment should be reversed.

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