A five-member majority of the Supreme Court of Virginia has attempted to clarify its holding in the controversial case involving the death of a teenage girl during a sleepover visit with a friend.
In Kellermann v. McDonough, the court established a general duty for host parents to supervise and care for a child guest entrusted to their care. The court also found the host mother assumed a duty of care when she agreed to “no boys with cars.”
The court issues a revised opinion today with language (beginning on page 17) that reaffirms the issues for trial – both the general duty of care and an assumed duty – and emphasizes that the plaintiffs must prove proximate causation to recover.
The court may be saying the criminal acts of a third party (reckless driving by a teenage boy) are properly considered as an issue for causation, but not for duty.
By Peter Vieth