Brief Fact Summary. The Village of Hancock, Minnesota appealed after dismissal of its third-party complaint against Floyd Ascheman for contribution in connection with an action brought by Ascheman’s wife for damages in which she alleged that the Village served liquor to her husband while he was intoxicated.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Common liability is a necessary prerequisite to contribution among joint tortfeasors.
Issue. Should the requirement of common liability between joint tortfeasors as a prerequisite to maintaining an action for contribution be relaxed to allow contribution between a liquor vendor and vendee, even though the vendee’s family could not bring a direct action in negligence against him for the loss of their means of support?
Held. No. Summary judgment affirmed. The court affirmed dismissal of the village’s third party claim on the reasoning that to allow contribution from the husband would diminish his ability to support his wife and family and thereby frustrate the remedial purpose of the statute.
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