Virginia Lawyers Weekly reports that the Kellermann v. McDonough wrongful death lawsuit has settled out of court for $1.75 million. Last November, the Virginia Supreme Court reinstated the case for trial in Henrico County, ruling that adults have a “common law” legal duty to exercise reasonable care when they agree to supervise another family’s child–even if the child is harmed by someone else.
Jaimee Kellermann, age 14 at the time (December 2004), tragically died when the car in which she was a passenger–driven by a 17-year-old boy with an alleged reputation for reckless behavior–slammed into a tree after traveling 80 miles per hour near Richmond. Jaimee had arranged to sleep over the home of her friend Becka McDonough in Henrico County. Becka’s parents apparently promised Jaimee’s father that the family would abide by his one rule: “no boys with cars.”
Mr. Kellerman subsequently sued the McDonoughs for $15 million in civil damages for wrongful death. The case reached the Virginia Supreme Court after the lawsuit was thrown out by a lower court judge. The reinstated case was scheduled for July 2010 trial in Henrico County Circuit Court.
The financial settlement as approved by a Henrico County, Virginia, judge will apparently be paid by the McDonoughs’ homeowners insurance policy.
A lawyer for the Kellermann family said that said “the family’s hope is the case will bring attention to the responsibility that adults have towards children in their care and the risks of teenagers driving with multiple teenage passengers.”