Law: Parents Beware

Your child may want to sue you

Ever alert for new fields to plow, negligence lawyers have slapped malpractice suits on doctors, hospitals, even fellow lawyers. But they have long left virtually unfilled what could, theoretically, prove the most fertile field of all—malpractice suits by children against their own parents. Now one Tom Hansen, 24, of Boulder, Colo., is bringing what may be called a "serpent's tooth suit"* against his mother and father.

Institutionalized twice for mental care since he was 17, Hansen is demanding $250,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages because, he claims, his parents neglected his needs for...

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