June 05, 2018

Lawsuit to recover damages for wrongful death of a student dismissed


Lawsuit to recover damages for wrongful death of a student dismissed
Juerss v Millbrook Cent. Sch. Dist., 2018 NY Slip Op 03518, Appellate Division, Second Department

A student suspended from Millbrook Middle School after the school's principal concluded that the she had engaged in an act of student misconduct committed suicide later that day.

Plaintiffs, as administrators of the student's estate sued the Middle School's principal, Millbrook Central School District, and the Board of Education of Millbrook Central School District [Defendants] alleging the student's suicide was caused by the Defendants' negligent investigation into the allegation of student misconduct and their negligent training of school staff in investigative procedures.

In this action to recover damages for wrongful death, Supreme Court granted the Millbrook Central School District's motion to dismiss the Plaintiffs' complaint. The Appellate Division the lower court's determination.

With respect to the Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action, the Appellate Division said that "the sole criterion is whether the pleading states a cause of action, and if from its four corners factual allegations are discerned which taken together manifest any cause of action cognizable at law a motion for dismissal will fail." Citing Michaan v Gazebo Hort., Inc., 117 AD3d 692, the court said that in so doing, said the court, "the pleading must be liberally construed, the factual allegations must be deemed true, and the pleading party must be accorded the benefit of every possible favorable inference."

Applying these principles, the Appellate Division explained that (a) New York does not recognize a cause of action sounding in negligent investigation and (b) "a claim for negligent training in investigative procedures is akin to a claim for negligent investigation or prosecution, which is not actionable in New York."

The decision if posted on the Internet at:

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