Neel v. Sewell

834 F. Supp. 2d 648



Under Michigan law, a child may sue a parent for injuries suffered as a result of the parent's ordinary negligence. However, Michigan recognizes parental immunity where the alleged negligent act involves an exercise of reasonable parental authority over the child; and where the alleged negligent act involves an exercise of reasonable parental discretion with respect to the provision of food, clothing, housing, medical and dental services, and other care.


Plaintiff was helping his grandmother and his father, the defendant, clean out her home. They collected trash, and set the trash on fire in the backyard. One of the bags contained an aerosol can, which exploded when set on fire and severely injured the plaintiff. Plaintiff sued defendant for medical expenses and emotional injuries. Plaintiff claimed that the defendant negligently supervised plaintiff by failing to maintain adequate standards for the safe disposal of the aerosol can. Defendant moved for summer judgment, claiming an immunity from suit.


Was the defendant immune from suit?




In finding that the defendant was not liable to the plaintiff for the injuries, the court found that the defendant's actions fell into the parental immunity preservation-exception, because the defendant was acting in his capacity as the plaintiff's parent.

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