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A parent is under a duty to exercise reasonable care so to control his minor child as to prevent it from intentionally harming others or from so conducting itself as to create an unreasonable risk of bodily harm to them, if the parent (a) knows or has reason to know that he has the ability to control his child, and (b) knows or should know of the necessity and opportunity for exercising such control.
Appellant minor confessed to shooting an officer with a pistol during the minor's commission of a burglary. The officer filed an action for negligence and willful misconduct against the minor and negligent entrustment and negligent parental supervision against the parents of the minor. The circuit court entered a directed verdict against the minor and a general verdict against the parents. The minor and parents sought review.
The court held that the general verdict against the parents was improper because the evidence demonstrated that they did not control the pistol, know that it existed, and have the opportunity to interfere with it. The court held that the directed verdict against the minor was proper because the evidence showed that the minor's conduct was the proximate cause of the officer's injuries, the shooting constituted willful and wanton conduct, the admission of the minor's bank statement was proper to refute his statement that he withdrew money from his bank account to pay for the pistol, and admission of hearsay testimony about a prior shooting incident was proper to show that the parents were told that the minor was involved in the prior incident.