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Virginia Supreme Court Sets an Interesting Precedent

| Apr 19, 2010 | Uncategorized

Today I came across an interesting case out of Virginia. A judge has approved a $1.75 million dollar settlement in a case arising out of the death of a teenage girl who was sleeping over a friends house. The parents of the victim told the parents hosting the sleepover that they did not want their daughter to drive in any cars with boys. Unfortunately, the host mother gave permission for the girls to go for a car ride with a teenage boy that ended in the tragic death of the victim. The lawsuit sought money from the homeowner’s policy of the hosts alleging that they were negligent in caring for the girl.

In approving the settlement, the Supreme Court of Virginia stated that a parent who agrees to supervise and care for a child has a common law duty to do so with reasonable care. One could make an argument that it was not unreasonable to allow the girls to get in a car with a properly licensed driver – but considering that teenagers often drive recklessly, particularly when in a group setting, an accident is arguably foreseeable. Furthermore, the parents of the victim specifically requested that the daughter not be allowed to get into such a situation.

I am unsure if any other State has similar case law (searching the case law of all 50 States isn’t all that appealing) but I thought this was a novel and interesting ruling.