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38-120. Recovery from parents for malicious or willful acts by certain children; limitations. Any person receiving bodily injury or any person, partnership, corporation, political subdivision or other entity whose property has been damaged or destroyed shall be entitled to recover damages in an appropriate action at law in a court of competent jurisdiction from the parents of any child, living with the parents, who maliciously or willfully injured such person or damaged or destroyed such property while under the age of 18 years. Such recovery shall be limited to the actual damages in an amount not to exceed $5,000, in addition to taxable court costs, unless the court or jury finds that the malicious or willful act of such minor causing such injury, damage or destruction is the result of parental neglect, in which event the $5,000 limitation does not apply. Recovery under this section for bodily injury shall be limited to actual medical expenses.

History: L. 1959, ch. 203, § 1; L. 1965, ch. 275, § 1; L. 1978, ch. 156, § 1; L. 1995, ch. 257, § 5; July 1.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

1963-65 survey of family law, John W. Brand, Jr., and Dan Hopson, Jr., 14 K.L.R. 271, 290 (1965).

"Survey of Kansas Law: Family Law," Camilla Klein Haviland, 27 K.L.R. 241, 252 (1979).

"Parents' Liability For a Child's Wrongful Acts," Randall K. Rathbun, 4 J.K.T.L.A. No. 3, 7 (1980).

"Immigration Law and Policy: A History of Judicial Deference, and the Effect of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986," Susan Gentry Saidian and Susana Valdovinos-Hall, 27 W.L.J. 601, 614 (1988).


1. Statute requires both the act and its harmful result to be intended before parental liability imposed. Hanks v. Booth, 11 Kan. App. 2d 149, 151, 716 P.2d 596 (1986).

2. To sustain action, one must prove both act of offending children and resulting damage were willful or malicious. Hanks v. Booth, 240 Kan. 30, 33, 726 P.2d 1319 (1986).

3. Ambiguity in policy's severability clause; policy not construed to deny coverage for liability for negligent supervision of minor child. Catholic Diocese of Dodge City v. Raymer, 16 Kan. App. 2d 488, 489, 825 P.2d 1144 (1992).

4. Insurer's responsibility to insured homeowners for damages caused by insured's minor child's intentional acts of vandalism examined. Catholic Diocese of Dodge City v. Raymer, 251 Kan. 689, 690, 840 P.2d 456 (1992).

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