The only question considered by the supreme court was "whether a child under the age of seven is liable for primary negligence or for an intentional tort." The court noted the general incapacity of a child of this age to act with reason and foresight, and further expressed its own reluctance to attach blame to a child "in any sense comparable to the blame attachable to an adult." For these reasons it held that such a child shall be conclusively presumed incapable of both primary negligence and intentional tort.
In so holding, Ohio joins a distinct minority of states which follow this view. Previous case authority governing a young child's primary liability in Ohio was less than conclusive, yet the sparse number of decisions indicative of Ohio's stance espoused a view contrary to that now adopted. It had been stated by way of dictum that "an infant is responsible for his own torts ...," and that the question of whether a six-year-old child is capable of a negligent act is for the jury. More recently, the court of appeals, although dealing with the liability of children 13 and 14 years of age, held that a minor who commits a tort is liable at any age. The Ohio Supreme Court, although reversing the decision on other grounds, affirmed the correctness of the lower court's statement of the law.
Cross, Robert Austin
"Minors Under the Age of Seven; Incapable of Primary Negligence or Intentional Torts; Conclusive Presumption; DeLuca v. Bowden,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 9:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol9/iss2/8