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Torts Keyed to Duncan
Zellmer v. Zellmer
Citation:188 P.3d 497 (Wash. 2008)
Joel Zellmer (defendant) agreed to watch his new wife’s three year old daughter, Ashley, while Ashley was home sick. After leaving her in her bedroom to watch a video, he went downstairs to build a fire. An hour later, he realized she was no longer there and found her outside in the pool. She was resuscitated by paramedics, but died two days later. Ashley’s biological parents, Stacey Ferguson and Bruce McLellan (plaintiffs), sued the defendant for her death. The allegations included negligence and negligent supervision. The defendant moved for summary judgment, asserting the parental immunity doctrine as a defense. While he argued that he financially supported Ashley and had an emotional bond with her, the plaintiffs disagreed.
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