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Long v. Turk
962 P.2d 1093, Kan., KS, 08/19/1998
Category
Topic
Filename
Crime Homicide 
Location Street 
Prevailing Party Plaintiff 
Other Parties Perpetrator's father 
Holding

Statement of Facts: On October 18, 1994, Matthew Turk, 17, shot and killed Tony Long, 17, with his parents' .357 Magnum. Tony was a passenger in a van that Matthew had followed for several blocks in his car. It was unclear whether Matthew had permission from his father, Steven Turk, to take the gun or if Steven gave him the gun for protection because of the nature of the neighborhood where they lived. Matthew was tried as an adult and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Tony's mother, Alice Long, filed a negligence claim, seeking to impose liability on Steven Turk for providing a handgun to a minor. The trial court granted Steven's motion for summary judgment, holding that liability would be imposed if it was clear to Steven that Matthew was likely to use the gun to commit an intentional tort. Matthew had shown no previous violent tendencies, thus the shooting was not foreseeable. Alice appealed. Holding: The Supreme Court of Kansas reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded the case. A handgun is considered a dangerous instrumentality, so a standard of highest care is applied. It was unclear by the summary judgment record if Steven knowingly gave or transferred control of the .357 Magnum to Matthew. Therefore, the Court opined, the question of Steven's liability should be left to a jury. Furthermore, Matthew's prior record of alcohol-related offenses cast doubts as to whether the shooting was foreseeable. Thus, that question was also left to the trier of fact. Finally, the Court chose not to extend its analysis to the question of strict liability. 


Damage Award not determined 
Victim's Counsel     
Plaintiff's Counsel Jerry R. Palmer, L.J. Leatherman, Topeka 
Plaintiff's Expert      
Defense Counsel Thomas E. Wright, Evelyn Zabel Wilson, Topeka 
Defense Expert

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