Brief Fact Summary.
Shelton (Defendant) accidentally shot Purtle (Plaintiff) while hunting with a high powered rifle. Plaintiff sued for negligence. The trial court instructed the jury to find Defendant guilty only if he failed to use the standard of care expected of a reasonable minor of his age and intelligence.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
To hold a minor to an adult standard of care, the activity they are engaged in must be (1) dangerous to others and (2) normally only done by adults.
We have stated the rule as follows: in order for a minor to be held to an adult standard of care, he must be engaging in an activity that is dangerous to others and normally engaged in only by adults.View Full Point of Law
Shelton (Defendant) and Purtle (Plaintiff) were hunting deer together when Defendant accidentally shot Plaintiff with a high powered rifle.
Did the trial court err when it instructed the jury that Defendant, engaged in the dangerous activity of hunting, should be held to the standard of care expected of a reasonable minor of his age and intelligence?
No, the Court held that the trial court did not err, affirming the decision. A minor who is hunting should not be held to the same standard of care as an adult.
Justice J. Fogleman
J. Fogleman lays out facts from the lower court showing that Defendant had been using a rifle to hunt for almost 8 years. He believes that the majority should have required the same adult standard of care for minors using a high powered rifle as is used for operating a car, especially given the extreme danger of guns.
Justice J. Byrd
J. Byrd emphasizes that a bullet is just as deadly regardless of whether fired by a minor or adult, so the standard of care should be the same.