NOTE: Tort -- Damage Caused by Minors under the Age of Discretion -- Strict Vicarious Liability Imposed on Parents Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1975 Tulane University
Tulane Law Review

NOTE: Tort -- Damage Caused by Minors under the Age of Discretion -- Strict Vicarious Liability Imposed on Parents

May, 1975

Tulane Law Review

49 Tul. L. Rev. 1194


Harvey D. Wagar III


Plaintiff, while walking on a sidewalk, was struck from the rear by a bicycle ridden by a six-year-old child. Conceding that under the prevailing jurisprudence in Louisiana a six-year-old child is incapable of delictual fault, plaintiff sued the child's parents for negligent supervision on their part. Finding no independent negligence by the parents, the court of appeal affirmed the judgment of the trial court in their favor. 1 The Louisiana Supreme Court, in a decision authored by Justice Barham, 2 reversed the court of appeal and held that, although the young child was incapable of the discernment required for delictual liability, the parents were strictly liable under Civil Code article 2318 to compensate for the damage occasioned by the act of their child, since that act would have been tortious were it not for the child's tender age. 3 This strict liability is to be determined irrespective of whether the parents could have prevented the act of the child. 4 Turner v. Bucher, 308 So. 2d 270 (La. 1975).

Article 2318 of the Louisiana Civil Code of 1870, in conjunction with article 237, establishes the principle that parents are vicariously responsible for the damage occasioned by the tortious acts of their minor, unemancipated children. 5 This responsibility is based upon a strong civilian concept of parental authority; 6 vicarious parental responsibility, however, is merely concomitant with the liability of the child for his own tortious conduct. 7 Thus, a party damaged by a minor generally has dual ...
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