Leslie Wright (Leslie), a mentally disabled adult, was riding in a car driven by Homer Wright (Homer) (defendant), who was intoxicated. When Homer stopped for beer, a third party, Kermit Gussler, attempted to dissuade Homer from driving and offered to drive instead. Leslie indicated his agreement that Gussler should drive. Homer refused. Homer drove the car off the road and struck a tree, killing Leslie. Fred B. Tate, Jr. (plaintiff), the administrator of Leslie’s estate, sued for damages. The trial court found in favor of Tate. Homer appealed. The Virginia Supreme Court granted certiorari.