Steven Plitt, Expert Witness Steven Plitt, Expert Witness
Insurance Bad Faith Claim Handling Expert Serving Clients Nationwide

PERMISSIVE DRINKING?

The Missouri Supreme Court held in Griffitts v. Old Republic Insurance Co., 2018 WL 3235859 (Mo. 7/3/18) that an intoxicated employee, who had been driving a company vehicle while intoxicated, was a permissive user notwithstanding his violation of company procedure. In a previous decision, the Missouri Supreme Court held that the concept of permissive use applied even if the operator of the vehicle was operating the vehicle in a forbidden manner.

The Missouri Supreme Court held in Griffitts v. Old Republic Insurance Co., 2018 WL 3235859 (Mo. 7/3/18) that an intoxicated employee, who had been driving a company vehicle while intoxicated, was a permissive user notwithstanding his violation of company procedure. In a previous decision, the Missouri Supreme Court held that the concept of permissive use applied even if the operator of the vehicle was operating the vehicle in a forbidden manner. In Weathers v. Royal Indemnity Co., 577 SW.2d 623 (Mo. 1979) the Court held that the concept of "use" was much broader than the concept of "operation." "Use" referred to the vehicle's employment for some purpose or object of the user while "operation" contemplated the driver's direction and control of the vehicle's mechanism for the purpose of propelling the vehicle. Relying upon this prior precedent, the Court found that the employer's prohibition against its employees using vehicles while intoxicated was only a restriction on the employee's right to operate the vehicle which did not vitiate the company's authorization to use the vehicle. Once the company gave permission to use the vehicle to the employee, any restrictions on its operation did not suspend the policy's coverage for permissive users.

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