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McClenahan v. Cooley

Tennessee Supreme Court
806 S.W.2d 767 (1991)

McClenahan v. Cooley


William McClenahan (plaintiff) filed a wrongful death action against Glenn Cooley (defendant), whose vehicle was stolen and subsequently involved in a crash that resulted in the death of McClenahan’s wife and two children and caused serious injuries to a third child. Cooley left his vehicle with the keys in the ignition in a public parking lot while he entered a bank to transact business. A thief spotted the keys, started the car, and sped away. The thief was then spotted by a state trooper, who gave chase along with other law enforcement officers. Twenty minutes later, the thief exited a highway at speeds exceeding 80 miles per hour, ran a red light, and collided with a vehicle driven by McClenahan’s wife, who was pregnant. Physicians were able to deliver the child, who later died. The trial court granted Cooley’s motion to dismiss the complaint. McClenahan appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Drowota, J.)

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