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LegalPro54, Lawyer
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My son-in-law hired a transport company to transport my car.

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My son-in-law hired a transport company to transport my car. The transport company damaged the car while the title was still in my name. Can I sue the transport company or does the doctrine of Privity of Contract say that my son-in-law has to file the lawsuit?
JA: What state is this in? And how old is the car?
Customer: I am in AZ. My son-in-law is in CA. The car is a 1994 Jaguar XJS.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I just came back from Small Claims Court. The judge raise this issue and said he would have to research it. Seems to me that since I am the owner of the car, I should be able to sue even though my son-in-law hired the transport company.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

You likely could not sue for breach of contract because of the privity principle you've identified, but that does not matter because here the cause of action is based on general principles of negligence. No privity of contract should be required because you are not suing based on theories of contract. Moreover, to hold that privity bars you from suing would lead to the ridiculous result of someone suing and obtaining compensation for damages to a car they don't even own. that makes no sense at all.

To be honest this is a fairly basic point and I am surprised the judge was confused. Privity should not apply, period.

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Customer: replied 2 months ago.
OK, thank you very much. I agree. I thought of another analogy: What if the van driver ruined my neighbor's landscaping in the process. Certainly, my neighbor, not my son-in-law, should have a cause of action against the van driver.

I was actually going to type up a similar analogy. It makes perfect sense. It's not as though the existence of a contract excuses the carrier from damages they inflict onto third parties as a result of their negligence.

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