NOTE: ARD v. ARD: LIMITING THE PARENT-CHILD IMMUNITY DOCTRINE. Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1983 The University of Pittsburgh Law Review
University of Pittsburgh Law Review

NOTE: ARD v. ARD: LIMITING THE PARENT-CHILD IMMUNITY DOCTRINE.

SUMMER, 1983

44 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 977

Author

Cynthia J. Atchison

Excerpt

For nearly one hundred years, the parent-child immunity doctrine has been applied by American courts to prevent unemancipated minor children from suing their parents in tort. 1 During the past several decades, the validity of the doctrine has been questioned and criticized extensively. As a result, courts have begun to limit application of parental immunity, by abrogation in over one-half of the states and by the use of numerous exceptions in many others. The most recent example of this dissatisfaction with the doctrine of parent-child immunity is Ard v. Ard 2 in which the Supreme Court of Florida, although reaffirming its adherence to the doctrine, held that parental immunity will henceforth be "waived" in accident cases -- but only if the parent is covered by liability insurance and then only to the extent of the parent's available insurance coverage. 3

While it is clear that the existence of insurance cannot create liability, the prevalence of insurance has cast serious doubt on the validity of arguments traditionally used to support immunity and has been cited as one of the major factors militating against continued application of the doctrine. This Note will briefly trace the development of the parent-child immunity doctrine since its inception in 1891 and provide an overview of the current exceptions to and arguments for and against parental immunity. The Ard decision will be used as a basis for demonstrating that if a parent is insured, the doctrine should not be applied in cases involving ...
 
 
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