Memorandum of Decision Re: Damages for Destruction of Vehicle

IN THE UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
In re JIM BAKER TRUCKING, INC.,                                                 No. 92-11093        Debtor. ___________________________/
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 if the 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                                                                                                   _______________________                                                                                                                                                    Alan Jaroslovsky                                                                                                                                                    U.S. Bankruptcy