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The general rule in Illinois is that parents are not liable for the torts of their minor children merely because of the parent-child relationship. Parents may be found liable, however, if they fail to adequately control or supervise their children. To establish negligent parental supervision the plaintiff must show: the parents are aware of specific instances of prior conduct sufficient to put them on notice that the act complained of is likely to occur, and the parents have the opportunity to control the child.
Plaintiff victim brought an action against the minor on a theory of negligence and against the parents on a theory of negligent entrustment and supervision after the minor struck and injured the victim while driving her parents' car. The trial court granted summary judgment for the parents on the negligent entrustment and supervision count. On appeal, the victim contended that the trial court erred in its grant of summary judgment because alternative inferences could be drawn from the facts. The victim also contended that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied a motion for rehearing and reconsideration because the victim was denied an opportunity to present newly discovered evidence.
The court held that no reasonable person could infer from the undisputed facts that the minor had implied permission to drive her parents' car on the day of the accident. Moreover, the court held that to justify a new hearing based on new evidence, the victim had to show due diligence in discovering the evidence and demonstrate that the evidence was so conclusive that it would probably change the result.