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August 31 - Newsblog #1
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner and Wife Sue over Police Shooting
September 7 - Newsblog #2
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner’s Possession of Handgun Legal Under 2nd Amendment
September 14 - Newsblog #3
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: if a Government or Government Agency is at Fault, You Can Sue
September 21 - Newsblog #4
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Lawsuit Against Police Department Invokes the Civil Rights Act
September 28 - Newsblog #5
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: a Clear Line from the Action – or Inaction – to the Injury
October 12 - Newsblog #6
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Insensitivity Turns Traffic Stop into a Travesty
October 19 - Newsblog #7
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Who Abuse Power Must Be Held Accountable, Law Professor States
October 26 - Newsblog #8
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Holding Overly Aggressive Police Accountable
November 2 - Newsblog #9
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Brown Vs. Impd Case About Much More Than Punishment or Money
November 9 - Newsblog #10
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Improper Medical Diagnosis and Care Resulted in Loss of an Eye
November 16 - Newsblog #11
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Front End and a Back End
November 30 - Newsblog #12
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Truths About Medical Malpractice
December 7 - Newsblog #13
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Yes, You Can Sue City Hall
December 14 - Newsblog #14
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Slip and Fall Changes Two Lives Forever
December 28 - Newsblog #15
In the News: Ramey & Hailey Year in Review
January 4 - Newsblog #16
In the News: Teen’s Sexual Abuse Case Calls Attention to the Problem
January 11 - Newsblog #17
In the News: Parents of Survivor Sue Parents of Shooter
January 18 - Newsblog #18
In the News: Erin Brockovich Teams Up with Indiana Moms
January 25 - Newsblog #19
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Case Settled in Favor of Catastrophic Slip and Fall Injury Victim
January 31 - Newsblog #20
In the News: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rehab Facility
February 8 - Newsblog #21
In the News: Nurse Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case
February 15 - Newsblog #22
In the News: Running the Clock on Indiana Medical Malpractice
February 22 - Newsblog #23
In the News: to Repeal or Not to Repeal – Indiana Legislators Rule “not”
March 1 - Newsblog #24
In the News: Helping Physicians Keep Helping
March 8 - Newsblog #25
In the News: Parents of Brain-damaged Infant Sue Hospital
March 15 - Newsblog #26
In the News: Owner of Gun Wins Decision
March 22 - Newsblog #27
In the News: Indiana House Passes Long Term Care Protections Bill
April 5 - Newsblog #28
In the News: Slip-and-fall Victim Wins Right to Sue Dollar Tree
April 12 - Newsblog #29
In the News: Inspection Report Shows Vets Harmed at 52 Nursing Homes
April 19 - Newsblog #30
In the News: Sandwich Diversion Causes Fatal Two-semitrailer Crash
April 26 - Newsblog #31
In the News: Does Premises Liability Cover Goose Attacks?
May 10 - Newsblog #32
Two-week-old N.y. Verdict Offers Takeaways for Slip and Fall Victims
May 17 - Newsblog #33
In the News: Barrel Blast Triggers Wrongful Death Lawsuit
May 24 - Newsblog #34
In the News: when a Product Manufacturer is Not at Fault
May 31 - Newsblog #35
In the News – College Doc’s Sexual Abuse of Students Coming to Light
June 7 - Newsblog #36
In the News – One Week, Four Motorcycle Accidents
June 14 - Newsblog #37
List of Troubled Nursing Homes Released
June 21 - Newsblog #38
In the News: Kansas No-caps Ruling Changes Personal Injury Climate
June 28 - Newsblog #39
In the News: Jury Awards $10.5 Million for Pain and Suffering in Birth Injury Case
July 5 - Newsblog #40
In the News: More Indicted in Last Year’s Duck Boat Tragedy
July 17 - Newsblog #41
In the News: Richard Hailey on Litigation Team for Lawsuit Vs. Tesla
July 24 - Newsblog #42
In the News: Malpractice Lawsuit Yields Largest Award in History
August 28 - Newsblog #43
In the News: Trucks V. Passenger Cars – Score 18:116. Everybody Loses
December 4 - Newsblog #44
In the News: High School Chaplain Suspended on Allegations of Sexual Abuse
December 11 - Newsblog #45
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 11 - Newsblog #46
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 18 - Newsblog #47
In the News: Parents of Bus Accident Victim Awarded $20 Million
January 8 - Newsblog #48
In the News: Parents Sue After Daughter’s Brain Damaged in Surgery
January 10 - Newsblog #49
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase
January 29 - Newsblog #50
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase
February 19 - Newsblog #51
Indiana Authorities Buy More Time to Prosecute Child Abusers
February 26 - Newsblog #52
In the News: Teen Brain-injured at Birth Awarded $15.1 Million
March 4 - Newsblog #53
In the News: Did Connecticut School Officials Turn a Deaf Ear to Sexual or Physical Abuse?
March 18 - Newsblog #54
In the News: Facility Held to Blame for Medical Treatment Delivered in a Careless and Negligent Manner
April 1 - Newsblog #55
In the News: Emergency Measures Instituted in Indiana’s Judicial System
April 8 - Newsblog #56
In the News: Medical Malpractice Limits Challenged in California
April 15 - Newsblog #57
In the News: Indiana Supreme Court Issues Five Orders for Legal Proceedings
May 6 - Newsblog #58
In the News: Nursing Homes with Covid-19 Cases Have Been Violating Federal Infection Control Rules for Years
May 13 - Newsblog #59
In the News: Physician Not Negligent in Choosing One Treatment over Another
May 20 - Newsblog #60
In the News: Nursing Homes with Covid-19 Cases Have Been Violating Federal Infection Control Rules for Years
June 17 - Newsblog #61
In the News: Ruling Reverse on Police Shooting – New News, Old Story?
July 8 - Newsblog #62
In the News: What is This Thing Called Qualified Immunity?
July 15 - Newsblog #63
In the News: Sooner or Later for Virus-delayed Jury Trials
July 29 - Newsblog #64
In the News: Truck Driver Sentenced, Another Charged in Fatal Crashes
August 5 - Newsblog #65
In the News: Double-booked Doctors Cause Personal Injury to Patients
August 12 - Newsblog #66
In the News: Double-booked Doctors Cause Personal Injury to Patients
August 26 - Newsblog #67
In the News: $4.9m Auto Accident Settlement Teaches Many Lessons
September 2 - Newsblog #68
In the News: Negligence Unmasked at Pennsyvania Trial
September 9 - Newsblog #69
In the News: Double-booked Doctors Cause Personal Injury to Patients
October 7 - Newsblog #70
In the News: Heart Rhythm Drug Poisoned Patient’s Lungs
October 14 - Newsblog #71
In the News: Prisoner Vs. Prison – a Tale of Two Medical Negligence Lawsuits
October 28 - Newsblog #72
In the News: Richard Hailey Serves As Co-counsel in Tragic Texas Medical Malpractice Case
November 4 - Newsblog #73
In the News: Richard Hailey Serves As Co-counsel in Tragic Medical Malpractice Case
November 18 - Newsblog #74
In the News: Two-year-old Shoots Mom in Tragic Reminder of the Need for Safe Storage of Guns
December 30 - Newsblog #75
In the News: when ‘ghost Guns’ Cause Real Deaths
January 13 - Newsblog #76
In the News: when Police Dogs Cause Personal Injury to the Innocent
January 27 - Newsblog #77
In the News: Old List of Six Proves Very Relevant Today
March 17 - Newsblog #78
In the News: Toxic Talc Still a Problem
April 14 - Newsblog #79
Think You Don’t Need a Doctor After Being Hit by a Car? Think Again!
May 5 - Newsblog #80
In the News: Historic Police Reform and Training Bill Signed into Law
June 2 - Newsblog #81
In the News: Shaquille Kelly Shot by Police in Ft. Wayne
June 9 - Newsblog #82
In the News: Cement Plant to Pay $700k for Spewing Pollutants
July 7 - Newsblog #83
In the News: Vehicular Homicide Result of Impairment and Speed
July 28 - Newsblog #84
Driving Phobia Ptsd Can Be Grounds for a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Litigation Newsletter

Limitations on Intra-Family Lawsuits

Over the years, intra-family immunity from lawsuits against other family members developed; “parental immunity” and “spousal immunity.” Some have suggested that these immunities were part of a body of rules that historically limited tort recoveries in general. At one time, there was even a certain stigma to bringing a lawsuit against another family member for damages.

This radically changed in the latter half of the 20th Century, when courts (and laws) began to expand liabilities and recoveries for a number of reasons. Not all states recognized the doctrines of parental and spousal immunity from suit, but most states did. Recently, however, more states have abandoned or created exceptions to these doctrines.

Spousal Immunity from Suits

“Common law” is generally a body of legal principles derived from traditions, laws, and lawsuit results. Much of common law is derived from English legal history and traditions, but certain U.S. states passed laws specifically incorporating English common law principles into their own state laws. The doctrine of spousal immunity existed at common law. It prevented one spouse from suing another for personal injury.

The doctrine evolved from the perception that a married couple is a unit, and therefore it made no sense for a legal unit to sue itself. Other rationales included the preservation and protection of the family, as well as the assets and integrity of the family.

Spousal immunity was accepted and enforced by most U.S. states at one time. It has now been completely abolished by the majority of states. Even in states that still recognize and apply the doctrine, exceptions have been developed or enacted into law. One example of an exception is that a spouse may not be barred from suing for damages arising out of intentional physical and/or sexual abuse by the other spouse. Another common exception is a right to sue and recover from a spouse for negligence arising out of a car accident.

Parental Immunity from Doctrine

The doctrine of parental immunity evidently originated in an 1891 Mississippi Supreme Court case; the court refused to allow a daughter to sue her mother for confining her to an insane asylum. Other state courts adopted and further developed the doctrine that parents cannot be sued by their children for parental actions against them while they were minors (in some states, the doctrine also prevents suit by parents against minor children).

A variety of public policy reasons were advanced for granting parental immunity, including:

  • Preservation of domestic harmony and tranquility
  • Avoiding depletion of family assets for a member at the expense of the rest of the family
  • The danger of fraud and collusion between parent and child where insurance is involved
  • Avoiding interference with parental care, discipline, and control
  • The possibility of inheritance by the parent of the amount recovered

Changes in the Doctrine

By the last half of the 20th Century, however, the parental immunity doctrine also was being questioned and, in some jurisdictions, completely abolished. In many states, exceptions to the doctrine were enacted or judicially developed, such as that it does not apply in the following circumstances:

  • Where there is physical or sexual abuse by the parent and/or failure to protect the child by the other parent. In some states it must be intentional abuse (“willful and wanton”), while in other states even negligent abuse claims are allowed. One rationale for this exception is that where there has been child abuse, there can be little “domestic harmony” and “family unity” left to preserve.
  • Cases where a child is injured in an automobile accident through the negligence or fault of the parent. The courts and legislatures allowed this exception chiefly because of the increase in liability insurance. The family’s resources are no longer at risk; in effect, the child is suing the insurance company of the parent. The exception is partly based on the existence of the insurance to satisfy the judgment.
  • Where the child would not be suing the parent in his or her capacity as a parent. For example, a father operates a bus company and his daughter is injured while riding the bus. The daughter would not be suing the parent for conduct arising out of exercise of parental duties, but rather for conduct arising out of the parent’s business. A similar exception applies for parents sued by employees who happen to be their children.
  • “Emancipated” children may usually sue for negligence and injury, even if arising out of actions otherwise considered parenting. The definition of emancipation varies depending on the jurisdiction, but usually is a combination of factors such as attaining a certain age and/or not living at home.

In many jurisdictions, parental immunity remains viable outside of exceptions adopted (i.e., when exercising parental supervision and discipline rights). The doctrine may also extend to protect step and adoptive parents. Those who function “in loco parentis,” in place of parents in supervisory roles (such as teachers) may also be covered by the doctrine and may therefore be immune from a lawsuit.

Insurance and “Household Exclusion” Clauses

Courts have found a variety of ways to justify abolishing or creating exceptions to parental and spousal immunity. Courts were often unconvinced of any special risk of collusion among family members in making claims. Insurance companies were not as confident and many responded by including “household exclusion” clauses in auto policies. Such clauses can preclude coverage for bodily injury to the insured or any member of the insured’s family residing in the household.

Household exclusion clauses been widely criticized by the courts and others. As a result some states prohibit such clauses, while other states allow enforcement only for amounts that exceed a statutory minimum recovery.

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