567 N.Y.S. 2d 960 (1991).

A mother sued her physician on behalf of her children, who were passengers in her car when she lost consciousness after taking prescription medication, alleging that the Defendant physician advised her that she could drive after taking the medication. 

In addressing the issue of whether Defendant owed Plaintiff’s children a duty of care, the court described the general principles regarding duty as follows:

“As a general rule, a defendant has no legal duty to control the conduct of third persons so as to prevent them from harming others. However, certain relationships may give rise to such a duty, but then only when the defendant has the ability and authority to control the third persons’ conduct.”

The court held that the Defendant physician did not owe Plaintiff’s children a duty of care because he had no ability or authority to control his patient’s conduct.

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