Hudson-Connor v. Putney

192 Or. App. 488 (2004)

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Hudson-Connor v. Putney

Oregon Court of Appeals
192 Or. App. 488 (2004)

Facts

Sixteen-year-old Sara Hudson and 14-year-old Reilly Burdick were friends and neighbors. One day after Hudson and Burdick finished riding Burdick’s golf cart around the property, an 11-year-old boy from the neighborhood, Bobby, asked to drive the golf cart. Burdick had permitted Bobby to drive the golf cart before, but she was always with him. On this day, Burdick allowed Bobby to drive the cart alone. After driving the cart up the driveway and intending to stop upon return, Bobby accidentally pressed the accelerator instead of the brake and ran into both Hudson and Burdick. Hudson’s leg was fractured, necessitating surgery. Guardian ad litem (GAL) Terri Hudson-Connor (plaintiff) filed suit on Hudson’s behalf for negligent entrustment against Burdick, who was represented by GAL Caroline Putney (defendant). Regarding negligence, at trial, the judge instructed the jury on the standard of care applicable to minors. Hudson-Connor objected to the jury instruction and argued that because Burdick allowed Bobby to drive the golf cart, she undertook an adult activity and, therefore, the adult standard of care should be applied. The judge gave the instruction to the jury anyway, which rendered a verdict in Burdick’s favor. No longer a minor, Hudson appealed on her own, arguing that driving a golf cart, which is a motorized vehicle, was an inherently dangerous adult activity for which an adult standard of care should be applicable. Hudson also argued that a minor’s entrustment of a motorized vehicle to another was equivalent to operating the vehicle and should also be subject to the adult standard of care. No evidence was presented indicating that driving a golf cart was an adult activity, such as driving a car.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brewer, J.)

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