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October 02, 2012

School district may be held liable for the negligent hiring and retention of its employees


School district may be held liable for the negligent hiring and retention of its employees

In an action alleging that a school employee sexually abused a student, Supreme Court denied the school’s and the school district’s motions for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s ruling, explaining that::

1. The school and the school district failed to make a prima facie showing that they were not negligent with respect to the hiring and retention of the school district employee who allegedly sexually abused the student; and

2. The school and the school district failed “to establish, prima facie, that they discharged their duty to provide adequate supervision of the infant plaintiff.”

The Appellate Division noted that although “an employer cannot be held vicariously liable ‘for torts committed by an employee who is acting solely for personal motives unrelated to the furtherance of the employer's business,’ the employer may be held liable for the negligent hiring and retention of the employee.”

Further, said the court, “a school district has a duty to exercise the same degree of care toward its students as would a reasonably prudent parent, and will be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately related to the absence of adequate supervision,” citing Mirand v City of New York, 84 NY2d 44

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_06289.htm

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