The United States Court of Appeal, Second Circuit, said that in adjudicating Doninger’s claims it had to determine if the school administrators involved were entitled to qualified immunity.*
Citing Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, the Second Circuit concluded that “it would gravely distort the doctrine of qualified immunity to hold that a school official should fairly be said to ‘know’ that the law forb[ids] conduct not previously identified as unlawful.” In Harlow the U.S. Supreme Court held that “government officials performing discretionary functions are generally shielded from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known."
In Herlihy v Metropolitan Museum of Art, 214 A.D.2d 250, the Appellate Division considered such a case.
Summarized below are the views of the Appellate Division, First Department, concerning an administrators' or an employees' claim that their statements are privileged or that they are protected by some form of immunity in making such statements.