Suit Against School for Failure to Provide Adequate Supervision Survives

In Amandola v Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Ctr., 2015 NY Slip Op 06099 [130 AD3d 761], the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department denied a defendant’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss a cause of action for failure to provide adequate supervision in its school.

A plaintiff brings suit against his school for failure to provide adequate supervision after being injured by his classmates on multiple occasions.  The plaintiff commenced this action against his school because his school failed to intervene after students repeatedly assaulted the plaintiff on school grounds and in the classroom. 

kids bullied on playgroundThe defendants moved for summary judgment to dismiss the cause of action alleging negligent supervision of students and negligent hiring and retention of employees.  The defendants argued that they did not have notice of the conduct on the part of the offending students in order to be held liable for the plaintiff’s injury.

The Supreme Court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the cause of action alleging negligent supervision of students and negligent hiring and retention of the teacher because the defendants did not adequately prove that they lacked notice and knowledge of the prior instances of assault.

The plaintiff in this case sustained injuries in his former school when a fellow student assaulted him on multiple occasions.  The plaintiff further alleged that he was repeatedly kicked by a group of students in a classroom.  The plaintiff claimed that the school failed to adequately supervise the students who allegedly injured the plaintiff and failed to intervene in a timely and appropriate manner.

Under established case law, courts have held that schools have a duty to adequately supervise students and will be held liable for foreseeable injuries that are proximately related to the absence of the supervision.  Schools are held to a high standard to oversee potential dangerous conduct engaged by students and any foreseeable injuries that result from the dangerous conduct.

In order for a defendant to successfully win on a motion for summary judgment to dismiss a cause of action in a case like this, the defendant must prove that there are no triable issues of fact to merit further litigation on the cause of action.  Here, the defendants argued that they lacked sufficient knowledge or notice of the dangerous conduct that caused plaintiff’s injuries.  However, the Court held that the defendant’s motion failed to eliminate all triable issues of fact that the defendants did not have sufficient knowledge or notice of the dangerous conduct.  The Court found that the defendant’s moving papers also failed to eliminate all triable issues of fact as to whether they had knowledge of the student’s dangerous tendency to injure the plaintiff based on past altercations with the plaintiff.  Finally, the Court held that defendants failed prove there were no questions of fact as to whether the teacher failed to take steps to intervene to prevent the plaintiff’s injuries at the very hands of his classmates.  As such, the Appellate Court upheld the Supreme Court’s denial of defendants’ motion for summary judgment.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of negligent supervision, please contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Gallivan & Gallivan for a free consultation today.

p://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2015/2015_06099.htm

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