While there is generally no vicarious liability for independent contractors’ acts, a principal may be liable in New Jersey for negligent hiring if it fails to make sure a truck it engages is registered, inspected, insured and driven properly, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled last week.

The justices, in Puckrein v. ATI Transport Inc., A-117-04, held that Browning-Ferris Industries of New York Inc., a provider of waste management, recycling and sanitation services, may be held liable for the deaths of a Somerset County, N.J., couple in a collision with a waste-hauling truck it had hired.

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