Sunday, February 3, 2013

Broadwell v. Holmes case brief

Broadwell v. Holmes case summary
871 S.W.2d 471 (Tenn. 1994)
Tort Law

ROCEDURAL HISTORY: The father, who was next of kin to appellant daughter and who was next friend to appellant son, had sought review of a judgment by the Tennessee court of appeals. 
The appeals court affirmed a trial court decision that was in favor of appellee mother.
The trial court had dismissed a suit that was brought on behalf of two minor children against their mother for personal injuries to the son as well as wrongful death of the daughter.

FACTS: The son was injured and the daughter was killed as the result of riding in a vehicle operated by the mother. The suit, which was brought by the non-custodial father as next friend and next kin, alleged negligence by the custodial mother. The trial court found that the complaint did not state a cause of action based on parental immunity, which was upheld by the appellate court. The children appealed.


The court reversed the lower courts, holding that:
(1) common law parental immunity exempted parents from liability, both expressly or implicitly, for conduct, whether acts or omissions, that were incident to the exercise of parental authority and supervision;
(2) a parent's conduct that results in injury to a child may be outside the scope of the parent-child relationship;
(3) the scope of the common law parental immunity exemption was limited to conduct that constituts the exercise of parental authority, the performance of parental supervision, and the provision of parental care and custody;
(4) operation of a vehicle was not considered protected conduct;
(5) this decision applies to all cases tried or retried after the date of this opinion and on appeal; and
(6) cases that are in conflict with this decision were/are overruled.

Conduct, whether acts or omissions, incident to the exercise of parental authority and supervision exempts parents from liability, expressly or implicitly, under the common law doctrine of parental immunity.

OUTCOME: The court reversed the decisions of the lower courts.
This case was remanded for further proceedings.

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