The Virginia Supreme Court recently ruled on a wrongful death case in which a 14-year-old girl died staying at a friend’s house died after the girl’s parents told the caretakers that the girl was not to ride in a car with any young drivers.
In December 2004, Jamie Kelerman was spending the night at Paul and Paula McDonough’s house at their invitation. When Jamie was dropped off her father told Mrs. McDonough that Jamie was not allowed to ride with inexperienced drivers, especially boys. This was a rule that was enforced at the Kelerman’s home. Mr. Kellerman says that he was promised that the McDonoughs would take care of Jamie, yet despite that promise, Mrs. McDonough dropped Jamie and some other girl off at the mall and told them to get a ride home with a 17-year-old boy who had a reputation for speeding.
The case was dismissed by a Henrico County Court but the Supreme Court of Virginia released a 54-page opinion saying that the McDonoughs had a common law duty to supervise and care for Jamie and that they could be sued for negligence.
I agree with this opinion because I feel that a minor needs supervision and, in this case, Mrs. McDonough agreed to supervise and take care of Jamie in accordance to Mr. Kelerman’s wishes and then did not do what was promised.
I’m sure that if there had been a problem with the Mr. Kelerman’s request he would have taken Jamie home and not permitted her to spend the night.
It is sad that some people do not listen to a parent’s wishes when it comes to caring for their children. In this case it is particulary tragic in that it ended with the wrongful death of a young lady. My heart goes out to the Kelerman’s because I’m sure their heart aches every day in thinking of their lost daughter.
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