ELEMENTS OF NEGLIGENT ENTRUSTMENT IN TEXAS
The elements of a negligent entrustment cause of action are (1) the owner entrusted a vehicle
(2) to an unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless driver; (3) the owner knew or should have known
that the driver was unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless; (4) the driver was negligent on the
occasion in question; and (5) the driver's negligence proximately caused the accident.
Newkumet v. Allen, 230 S.W.3d 518, 522 (Tex. App.- Eastland 2007, no pet.).
LINDA SHEFFIELD INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS THE ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF CODY JAYTON
RISTER AND CALVIN RISTER v. JAN MICHAEL DRAKE; from Stephens County; 11th district
(11-06-00236-CV, 255 SW3d 779, 05-22-08, pet. denied) (survival and wrongful death claims arising from
death in a motor vehicle, alcohol and minors, negligent entrustment claim, Dram Shop Act, judicial
admission as SJ evidence)
There was evidence that Drake allowed Brent and Jayton to drive his vehicle earlier that day. It is
undisputed that Drake was involved in the acquisition of beer for the party, that he drank enough beer
himself to lose consciousness at 10:30 or 11:00 p.m., that Jayton got Drake's keys, and that he and Brent
left the house after midnight. Drake directs our attention to testimony from himself and Brent affirmatively
establishing that Drake did not want anyone driving his vehicle after the party started, but because this is a
no-evidence summary judgment review, we must confine ourselves to a review of the evidence in the light
most favorable to Sheffield. King Ranch, 118 S.W.3d at 750-51.
The mere fact that Brent or Jayton drove Drake's pickup earlier in the day before the party started and
while accompanied by Drake is no evidence that Jayton had broader authority to drive Drake's vehicle after
the party started or while Drake was asleep. See Vaughn v. Watkins, 344 S.W.2d 902 (Tex. Civ. App.-
Eastland 1961, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (employee who drove company pickup on several occasions for personal
and business reasons did not have permission to drive it at the time of the accident). Sheffield directs us
to Brent's testimony that he would never steal a vehicle and that he never heard Drake say, "[D]on't drive
my vehicle." Because it was Jayton and not Brent that obtained the keys, this does not establish that
Jayton had Drake's consent. Summary judgment, therefore, was appropriate because there was no
evidence of entrustment. Sheffield's second issue is overruled.