PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Finance companies have backed away from their threats to stop leasing vehicles in Rhode Island now that the state's legislature has renewed limits on their liability.
A 2-year-old state law restricts lessors' vicarious liability for personal injury and property damage caused by drivers of leased vehicles. It was scheduled to expire June 30, but lawmakers voted to extend it through June 1, 2006.
Chrysler Financial Services, Ford Motor Credit Co., Subaru Motors Finance and Chase Auto Finance Co. had said they no longer would write leases in the state if the legislation was not renewed.
In 2002, a Rhode Island court imposed a $28 million judgment against Chase Auto Finance. A woman was paralyzed after a car leased by Chase rear-ended her vehicle. In response to the case, the legislature enacted limits on lessors' liability.