A Newark woman who tasked her brother with taking her car to pick up her daughter cannot be held liable for the crash that occurred after he stopped off to buy—and drink—enough scotch to push his blood alcohol level to nearly four times the legal limit, a New Jersey trial judge has ruled.

In a Jan. 22 opinion in Vaidyanathan v. Martinez, Essex County Superior Court Judge Thomas Vena said defendant Vanessa Martinez, the owner of the car, gave defendant Joaquin Martinez, the driver, the authority only to use her vehicle to retrieve her daughter from her father’s house in Hillside.

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