IN THE UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
JIM BAKER TRUCKING, INC., No. 92-11093
Memorandum of Decision
In 1991, claimant Kenneth Kysely's 1979 Datsun pickup truck was totally destroyed in a
traffic accident. The debtor does not dispute liability. However, Kysely filed a claim for
$18,544.49 as a result (reduced at hearing to $13,090.18), even though the value of the pickup
was only $2,500.00. The debtor has objected to allowance of the claim in this amount as
excessive. The only real point of contention is the $10,653.96 in rental charges Kysely incurred
for 7 1/2 months after the accident.
There is some authority that where a vehicle is totally destroyed the owner is not entitled to
damages for loss of use at all. Pfingsten v. Westenhaver
, 39 Cal.2d 12, 22 (1952). However, the
modern general rule is that the owner is entitled to recover reasonable
damages for loss of use
while the vehicle is being repaired, if repairable, or the period required for replacement
vehicle is not repairable. 23 Cal.Jur.3d, Damages, section 69.
In this case, Kysely has not met his burden of persuading the court that renting a truck for
seven months was reasonable. The court will allow him one month's rental charges, in the
amount of $1,500.00. The total amount of his allowed claim will be $5,320.63.
Counsel for the debtor shall submit an appropriate form of order.
Dated: November 14, 1994 _______________________