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In order to hold the parent liable for the child's acts, a complaint must allege specific instances of prior conduct sufficient to put the parents on notice that the act complained of was likely to occur.
The mother's child was beaten by another child while at the owners' baby-sitting service. The mother filed an action against the parents of the other child and the owners of the service. The parents filed a motion for summary judgment against the mother and the owners filed a motion to dismiss the mother's complaint against them. The trial court granted both motions. Plaintiff mother appealed.
Did the trial court err in granting summary judgment in favor of the parents and the owners of the service?
On appeal, the court affirmed the decision of the trial court. The court held that summary judgment was appropriate as to the parents because the mother, in her complaint, set forth absolutely no specific factual allegations of prior conduct by the parents' child which would give rise to a duty on their part to protect others from his violent actions. The court stated that Illinois was a fact pleading state and that the bare allegation in the mother's complaint that the parents knew of their child's "tendency for extreme violence" was insufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact. The court similarly held that the owners could not be held liable for the act of the parent's child because the mother set forth no specific factual allegations in her complaint that they knew of his violent tendencies.