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Senior Member
My question:

Tracey, with regard to the little child that lost his eye, can you enlighten me as to how anyone would be able to prove that a child of 7 years of age could form the necessary intent to "willfully or maliciously" inflict injury? And then to be able to hold the parents liable, for any amount? Especially now, or even some eleven years later?



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[This message has been edited by I AM ALWAYS LIABLE (edited June 13, 2000).]



I was recalling a case we read in torts my first year of law school. A five yr old pulled a chair out from under an elderly woman as she was about to sit down. (You know, the funny make 'em fall on the ground joke.) She broke her hip. The parents were held liable to the woman for their son's actions. Now, I can't recall if the court found his actions were willful & malicious or just willful. Nor can I recall the state.

The statute seems to indicate that the legislature wanted to curtail parental liability. However, since Washington courts are notoriously result-oriented, I thought it might be worth launching CDLaw to look for any cases. The courts may have decided to define "malicious" as 'mean-spirited' rather than as 'knowing the consequences of the act'. Also, I think a jury would be more likely to find parental liability a few years down the road, when the 7 year old is in his rebellious teenager stage. Call me cynical....

This is not legal advice and you are not my client. Double check everything with your own attorney and your state's laws.

[This message has been edited by Tracey (edited June 15, 2000).]

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