Reading Harris v. Five Point Mission Camp Olmstedt, the Appellate Division's decision to reverse the trial court and dismiss this negligent supervision case doesn't even seem like a close call.

In this case, the 13 year-old plaintiff was injured when both he and another camper fell over each other while simultaneously trying to kick a soccer ball. At that time, the plaintiff and his fellow campers were being supervised by two counselors, including one who was a mere twelve feet away when the accident happened.

So what did the camp do wrong?

That's a very reasonable question. And, not surprisingly, one that the appeals court found no satisfactory answer for. As the Court noted,

"[S]chools and camps owe a duty to supervise their charges and will only be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately caused by the absence of adequate supervision (see Mirand v City of New York, 84 NY2d at 49; Doe v Department of Educ. of City of New York, 54 AD3d 352, 353; Paca v City of New York, 51 AD3d 991, 992) ... [E]ven if an issue of fact exists as to negligent supervision, liability does not lie absent a showing that such negligence proximately caused the injuries sustained (see Odekirk v Bellmore-Merrick Cent. School Dist., 70 AD3d 910; Siegell v Herricks Union Free School Dist., 7 AD3d 607)."

In other words, unless you can show that the camp was negligent, and that its negligence was somehow caused your accident, you cannot recover. It seems fairly clear that neither element was present in this case.

Jonathan Cooper
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Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer
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