Don’t you think that grandparents should be immune from any claim of liability based on what the grandkids do? I do. And that applies in spades when the grandparent has actually taken on the responsibility of raising the little rascal.
This came to mind when I read the case of Hernandez v. Fort Bend ISD, which involved a student-to-student sexual assault on the school bus. Yesterday we told you why the court dismissed the claims against the school district. Today, we focus on the suit against the grandma.
The plaintiff alleged that grandma, who was raising the boy and acting as his guardian, was negligent in her supervision of the boy. The suit alleged that grandma displayed:
Her inability or unwillingness to supervise [the boy’s] access to and use of the Internet, her failure to communicate the basic societal mores, taboos, and expectations of conduct to others, and especially to members of the opposite gender, and limitations on physical contact, particularly sexual contact.
The court dismissed grandma from the case, noting the general rule that “The mere fact of paternity or maternity does not make a parent liable to third parties for the torts of his or her minor children.”
If the parents cannot be held liable for what their children do, then certainly the grandparents cannot be held liable. I’m glad to see that the court dismissed the claims against grandma. But grandma had to go to a lot of trouble to get out of this mess.
Seems to me we should have a POPPY AND NANA PROTECTION AND IMMUNITY ACT, by which courts would be instructed to immediately dismiss any legal claim against grandparents for what the grands may have done. And if the grandparents are actually doing double parental duty by raising the grandchild, the plaintiff who sued them should be required to pay a fine that goes toward the raising of the child.
The case of Hernandez v. Fort Bend ISD was decided by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on September 13, 2019. We found it at 75 IDELR 34.
DAWG BONE: SEEMS ONLY FAIR, DONTCHA THINK?
The Dawg barks again next week!