First impression issue on 'in loco parentis' doctrine

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Until Friday, Indiana courts had never specifically addressed the application of the in loco parentis doctrine in the context of a private club sport that isn’t affiliated with a school. The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed the issue in a lawsuit against a private club volleyball coach and the volleyball club following the injury of a minor player while on private property.

In Kevin A. Griffin and Maureen O. Griffin, et al. v. George E. Simpson, Team Indiana Volleyball, Inc., et al., No. 18A02-1009-CT-1064, parents Kevin and Maureen Griffin sued the grandparents of one of their daughter’s teammates, the teammate’s mother, the daughter’s volleyball coach, and the private volleyball club after their daughter B.G. was injured falling off a golf cart. During a long break between matches in Muncie, B.G., some other teammates, and coach Becky Murray, went to the home of George and Sharon Simpson to pass time before the next match. B.G. went to the home after being invited by her teammate’s mother while B.G.’s father drove back to Indianapolis to watch another child’s sporting event.  

Murray, who was pregnant at the time, went upstairs in the Simpsons’ home to nap while some of the players rode around in a golf cart on the Simpsons’ property. Despite warnings of only allowing the Simpson’s granddaughter to drive and to not drive up a certain hill, three girls went where they weren’t supposed to go, and B.G. flew out of the cart in an accident and was injured.

The trial court granted Team Indiana Volleyball and Murray’s motion for summary judgment, that as a matter of law, Murray owed no duty to B.G. while the team was on break.

The appellate court examined the in loco parentis doctrine with respect to Murray, and held it didn’t apply to her under the facts of this case. B.G.’s father gave permission for B.G. to attend after the teammate’s mother invited her. There’s no evidence that B.G.’s father even knew whether Murray would be there or supervising the girls, as she had originally planned on staying at the tournament to watch matches before feeling ill. Because of this, Kevin Griffin couldn’t have entrusted B.G. to Murray’s care during the break between tournament sessions, and Murray didn’t demonstrate any intent to assume parental status or undertake an affirmative duty regarding B.G. during the break, wrote Judge Terry Crone.

The Griffins also asserted that Murray gratuitously assumed a duty to supervise the players by giving them instructions regarding which activities were permissible at the Simpsons’ home during their break. But it was the Simpsons, as the property owners, and the two other parents as the organizers of the impromptu visit to the Simpsons’ home, who were responsible to instruct and supervise the girls during their outdoor activities, wrote the judge.

“In sum, the impromptu gathering was not a ‘team event,’ and Coach Murray was merely a guest whose attendance was due to a last-minute change of plans when she was presented with an invitation that included the opportunity to nap,” he wrote. “As such, she no more deliberately and specifically assumed a duty to supervise B.G.’s golf-carting activity at Mr. and Mrs. Simpson’s house than she would deliberately or specifically have assumed the obligation to dress a player in warm clothes during winter or put her to bed early on the night before a match.”

The judges also held because Murray didn’t commit the tort of negligent supervision, then respondeat superior cannot apply against Team Indiana Volleyball.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  2. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

  3. (A)ll (C)riminals (L)ove (U)s is up to their old, "If it's honorable and pro-American, we're against it," nonsense. I'm not a big Pence fan but at least he's showing his patriotism which is something the left won't do.

  4. While if true this auto dealer should be held liable, where was the BMV in all of this? How is it that the dealer was able to get "clean" titles to these vehicles in order to sell them to unsuspecting consumers?

  5. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless [ ] Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. GOD BLESS THE GOVERNORS RESISTING! Count on the gutless judiciary to tie our children down and facilitate the swords being drawn across their throats. Wake Up America ...