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Gibson v. Gibson

    Brief Fact Summary.

    The trial court dismissed a negligence action filed by an unemancipated minor against his father.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    An unemancipated minor can sustain a negligence action against a parent.

    Facts.

    James Gibson (James) was the minor son of Robert Gibson (Robert). When James was accompanying Robert to tow a jeep, Robert instructed James to fix the wheel on the jeep, when another car struck James. James sued Robert for negligence. The trial court dismissed the action.

    Issue.

    Whether an unemancipated minor can sustain a negligence action against a parent?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the trial court is reversed. The threat to parental discipline is not enough to bar a minor’s negligence claim against his parent.

    Points of Law - for Law School Success

    However, the doctrine of parental immunity provides two exceptions to this general rule of law: (1) where the alleged negligent act involves an exercise of reasonable parental authority over the child and (2) where the alleged negligent act involves an exercise of reasonable parental discretion with respect to the provision of food, clothing, housing, medical and dental services, and other care.

    View Full Point of Law
    Discussion.

    An unemancipated minor can sustain a negligence action against a parent. A parent can be held liable for negligence if their actions are inconsistent with that of a reasonable parent in similar circumstances.


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