Q: Can parents be sued for their adult child’s actions?
Parents getting divorced in Pennsylvania have many issues to work out when children are involved. The court looks at what’s in the best interest of the child when deciding child support and custody issues. But whether couples are divorced or remain married, how they raise their children can impact them well into adulthood. And as the Eric Frein case demonstrates, parents can even be sued for the conduct of their adult children.
Civil litigation in Pennsylvania by multiple parties has been commenced against the parents of death-row inmate Eric Frein, the man convicted of first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of two state troopers. The lawsuit alleges the parents actively “indoctrinated into their son a disdain of law-enforcement” and claim the “psychological manipulation” began in boyhood and continued through adulthood until the time of the shooting.
The shooter reportedly still lived with his parents who allegedly “supported him emotionally and financially”. The lawsuit claims the parents “were negligent in keeping more than four dozen firearms unsecured” in their home, though the one allegedly used the attack was reportedly owned and registered by the shooter, who was also named as a defendant in the civil suits. One trooper died and one was seriously wounded.
In a personal injury action, someone who has been seriously injured as a result of the negligent, intentional, or reckless actions of someone else may be entitled to collect compensatory damages from the responsible party or parties. If the injured person dies, their closest surviving relatives may be entitled to compensatory damages in a wrongful death action.
In a negligence action, the person alleged to have caused harm to another by their negligence must’ve owed the person who was harmed a “duty of care” which was then breached. That issue is at the center of the lawsuit.
From our office in Reading, Pennsylvania, we help clients throughout Pennsylvania to overcome these and other challenges to achieve the results they deserve.