Mitchell Taraschi and Jennifer Critchley Offer Insight into How New Jersey Courts Apply the Parental Negligence and Parental Immunity Doctrines

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ROSELAND, N.J./May 17, 2011 -- Mitchell W. Taraschi and Jennifer C. Critchley were contributing authors to a 50 state survey on the parental negligence doctrine and its viability and application in the United States. The survey was disseminated at the DRI Products Liability Conference held in New Orleans in April 2011. Taraschi and Critchley provided a summary of and insight into how New Jersey Courts apply the parental negligence and parental immunity doctrines.

Under New Jersey law, a parent’s negligence cannot be imputed to a child so as to preclude an action by the child against a third party whose negligent act has injured the child. Jannuzzelli v. Wilkens, 158 N.J.Super. 36, 47 (App.Div. 1977). With limited exception, there is also no special immunity afforded to parents for claims brought against them for their own negligence. France v. A.P.A. Transport Corp., 56 N.J. 500 (1970); Mancinelli v. Crosby, 247 N.J.Super. 456 (App.Div. 1991); Thorpe v. Wiggan, 405 N.J.Super. 68 (App.Div. 2009). Despite the general principle affording no special treatment to parents, the vast majority of case law in New Jersey on the subject of parental negligence deals with the limited exception where immunity is afforded to parents. This “doctrine of parental immunity” shields parents from suits involving allegations of negligent supervision. Foldi v. Jeffries, 93 N.J. 533, 539-542 (1983).

To read more on the analysis of New Jersey case law on this topic, click here.

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