Cases of Note
Starr v. Hill, 353 S.W.3d 478 (Tenn. 2011)
OVERVIEW: A father and his son were sued after the son was involved in an accident while driving a vehicle owned, insured, and provided to him by his father. The basis for the suit against the father was the family purpose doctrine, which imposed vicarious liability on the owner of a vehicle for the negligent operation of the vehicle by a family member. At the time of the accident, the father was a head of the household and he maintained the vehicle for the purpose of providing pleasure or comfort for the family. However, a genuine issue of material fact remained as to whether the father had sufficient control over the vehicle. Accordingly, the supreme court vacated the appellate court's partial summary judgment in favor of the passenger and remanded for trial.
OUTCOME: The appellate court's partial summary judgment in favor of the passenger was vacated and remanded for trial. Costs were assessed equally to the parties and their respective sureties. (Click here for opinion)