In Wosner v. Elrac Inc. , Moshe Wosner was seriously injured in a vehicle rented by Joel Leibowitz under a long-term lease with Elrac Inc.
While the accident occurred in New Jersey, both occupants — Wosner and Leibowitz — lived in New York.
Things got a bit more complicated because the other driver was a Pennsylvania resident, and Leibowitz' rental car was registered and insured in New Jersey by Elrac (a Delaware Corporation with New Jersey headquarters). Yet, when litigation ensued, the New York County Supreme Court found that New York law governed, and Elrac's request that Jersey law be applied was denied.
On appeal, the Appellate Division, First Department, noted that "when the driver-host and the passenger-guest share a common domicile, the law of that state generally controls." Interestingly, the AD1 viewed the fact that the accident occurred in Jersey as unavailing since the Wosner and Leibowitz "were traveling between two New York locations" and "happened to pass" into another state.
Now how fortuitous was that?
To download a copy of the Appellate Division's decision, please use this link: Wosner v. Elrac Inc.