Negligent entrustment of firearm claim fails on appeal, father not liable after adult son fatally shoots man

HOUSTON – The 14th Court of Appeals recently affirmed a summary judgment win against a couple claiming negligent entrustment of a firearm.

David Dworaczyk and Melinda Morgan, representing the estate of Emerick Dworaczyk, brought their suit in 2018, accusing Toby Jones of negligently entrusting a firearm to his son, John Jones. 

Court records show Toby and John lived together. While Toby was at work, Emerick went to the house. Emerick and John then got into an argument, during which John retrieved a handgun from Toby’s bedroom and fatally shot Emerick. Both men were in their mid-twenties.

Court records further show Toby filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. A final judgment was rendered in his favor and the plaintiffs appealed.

On Sept. 30, the 14th Court affirmed the ruling, finding that Toby conclusively established that he did not entrust a firearm to his son.

“On this record, we cannot say that the trial court erred in granting Toby’s traditional motion for summary judgment,” the opinion states. “Presuming that Texas recognizes a cause of action for negligent entrustment of a firearm, which the supreme court has implicitly recognized, David and Melinda have not demonstrated negligent entrustment on these facts.

“We similarly need not decide on this record whether the general rule that parents do not have a duty to control their adult children negates a claim for negligent entrustment.”

Appeals case No. 14-19-01017-CV

Written by Staff reports

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