Barrett v. Dollinger
Although the State of Connecticut has a policy against racial violence, that does not make parents who lack a special relationship of legal custody, guardianship or control of an adult child legally responsible for conduct that allegedly was motivated by racism. Allegedly, Edward Dollinger resided in his parents' residence and, on Oct. 5, 2009, Dollinger stabbed the plaintiff's decedent, Ryan Tillman. The plaintiff estate administrator sued Dollinger's parents and alleged that they negligently failed to supervise or warn, and that they knew, or should have known, that Dollinger held racist views toward African Americans and would injure Ryan Tillman, if he had the opportunity. The defendant parents moved to strike and argued that they possessed no legal duty to control the conduct of their adult child, even if he resided in their residence. The plaintiff estate administrator objected that Connecticut's policy against racial violence favors the recognition of a duty of care. The plaintiff estate administrator did not allege that the defendants possessed a special relationship of legal custody, guardianship or control of their child. The court found that although the defendant parents might have possessed the ability to have helped to protect Ryan Tillman, they lacked any legal duty to protect him. Connecticut's policy against racial violence is directed at those who possess offensive views, as opposed to the individuals in their vicinity who do not. Connecticut courts have held that parents are not legally responsible for violent conduct of an adult child who is mentally ill. The defendant parents did not possess the legal right to control the conduct of their adult child, and the court granted the parents' motion to strike.