In Neale v. United Way of Greater Kingsport, a minor child apparently suffered a serious injury to his hand while participating in an activity at a non-profit organization’s Tennessee facility. As a result, the child’s parents filed a negligence action against the organization. The parents eventually agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case, and the child’s father filed a new lawsuit against the non-profit as his son’s next friend. In his new complaint, the child’s father sought damages for his son’s physical injury, suffering, pain, medical bills, and more.
In response to the father’s case, the non-profit filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing the man was prohibited from pursuing the lawsuit under Section 20-1-105(b) of the Tennessee Code Annotated. Under the law, if an injured child’s parents are not cohabiting and one parent has exclusive legal custody of the minor, only that parent has the right to bring a lawsuit. At the time of the child’s injury, the boy’s mother was his primary residential parent. Following a hearing, the trial court granted the organization’s motion. The father then filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Knoxville.