I can't say I'm surprised that this case was dismissed.

On second thought, I am a bit puzzled - but it is why this school negligence case was even brought to begin with (for more on this topic, see Why Many (If Not Most) NY Playground Accident Lawsuits Are Dismissed). Reading the Appellate Court's opinion, I can discern no basis for holding the school liable for this child's injuries.

In Tannenbaum v. Minnesauke Elementary School, a second grade child was injured when one of his classmates pushed him from behind while getting on line for lunch. At deposition, the child apparently admitted that the teacher was immediately behind him, and that the teacher had repeatedly warned all of the students not to run or push.

In affirming the lower court's dismissal of the lawsuit, the Court stated as follows:

"Schools are under a duty to supervise students in their charge and will be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately related to the absence of adequate supervision (see Mirand v City of New York, 84 NY2d 44). However, there is no liability absent a showing that the negligent supervision was a proximate cause of the injury sustained (see Mayer v Mahopac Cent. School Dist., 29 AD3d 653).

"A school district's alleged lapse in supervision is not a proximate cause of an accident where that accident occurs in so short a span of time that even the most intense supervision could not have prevented it" (see Janukajtis v Fallon, 284 AD2d 428, 430; Convey v City of Rye School Dist., 271 AD2d 154, 160) (emphasis supplied).

In light of this apparently uncontroverted evidence, I wonder what information the plaintiff's attorney gleaned during his initial consultation with the client that led him to believe there might be a viable school negligence case.

Then again, the explanation may lie in the same last name that is shared by the plaintiff and his attorney.

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