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Starr v. Hill

Tennessee Supreme Court
353 S.W.3d 478 (2011)


When Paul Hill Jr. (Son) (codefendant) turned sixteen, Paul Hill Sr. (Father) (codefendant) bought him a car, in accordance with a divorce decree. While driving home from a holiday shopping trip with his sister and her friend, Son collided with Arlene Starr (plaintiff). Starr sued both Father and Son, asserting that Son’s negligence caused the accident and that Father held liability under the family-purpose doctrine. Father moved for summary judgment, arguing that the family-purpose doctrine did not apply because Son did not live with him at the time of the accident and used the car solely for his own purposes, not family purposes. Father argued he had no control over Son’s use of the vehicle and deferred to his mother to set driving parameters. Under the divorce decree, Son resided with his mother, who held responsibility for day-to-day parenting decisions, but Father retained joint responsibility for decisions related to extracurricular activities. The trial court granted summary judgment for Father, but the appellate court reversed, prompting Father to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lee, J.)

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