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Zellmer v. Zellmer

Supreme Court of Washington
188 P.3d 497 (Wash. 2008)


Facts

Mr. Zellmer (defendant), Mrs. Zellmer’s (plaintiff) second husband, was supervising Mrs. Zellmer’s daughter from her first marriage. Mr. Zellmer left the child, Ashley, alone and she walked outside to their pool and drowned. Mr. and Mrs. Zellmer had only been married for three months, during which time Mr. Zellmer was unemployed. Mrs. Zellmer and Ashley’s father brought suit against Mr. Zellmer for negligence. Mr. Zellmer moved for summary judgment and his motion was granted by the trial court on the basis of the parental immunity doctrine. The court of appeals affirmed. Ashley’s parents appealed on the grounds that Mr. Zellmer did not qualify as immune under the doctrine because he did not support Ashley financially and did not discipline Ashley because Mrs. Zellmer felt that he did not know her well enough.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Madsen, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Concurrence/Dissent (Alexander,C.J.)

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