November 12, 2015 by Michael A. Bono Negligence, New York 0 comments
Teacher's Lawsuit Against Public School Dismissed (NY)In Brumer v City of New York a fourth grade public school teacher filed a personal injury lawsuit after allegedly being assaulted by one of her students. The teacher claimed the assaulting student had been restrained by a school security guard after a fight with another student during a fire drill. Although the security guard escorted the student away from the rest of the class, the student returned to the scene and began fighting again. The teacher claims that during this second fight, the student hit her, causing her to fall to the ground and sustain injuries. The teacher sued the City of New York, the Department of Education, the principal and assistant principal of the school. As a general matter, a school district may not be held liable for the negligent performance of its governmental function of supervising children in its charge, at least in the absence of a special duty to the person injured. After the teacher filed her complaint, the defendants asked the Kings County Supreme Court to dismiss the lawsuit because there was no “special relationship” between the school and the teacher, and, as such, they did not owe her a duty of care. The Supreme Court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit. The teacher appealed, and the Appellate Division, Second Department, agreed with the school and upheld the dismissal. The Appellate Division ruled that although a school district owes a special duty to its students, that duty does not extend to teachers, administrators, or other adults on or off school premises unless one of the following applies: http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2015/2015_07611.htm(1) when the municipality violates a statutory duty enacted for the benefit of a particular class of persons; (2) when it voluntarily assumes a duty that generates justifiable reliance by the person who benefits from the duty; or (3) when the municipality assumes positive direction and control in the face of a known, blatant and dangerous safety violation. The Appellate Division concluded that none of these circumstances were present in this situation and held the Supreme Court properly dismissed the teacher’s lawsuit. Thanks to George Parpas for his contribution to this post and please write to Mike Bono for more information.