I am encouraged when I see courts reaching the right result, even if it means that people claiming negligent supervision lose - and even if we're discussing a tragic loss.

And the reason for this is straightforward: It means the judicial system is working the way it's supposed to.

In an opinion that was handed down on August 14 in Palmer v. City of New York, New York's Appellate Division, Second Department modified a Queens trial court's holding, and ruled that the parents of a high school student who had collapsed and died shortly after running track could not prevail on their theory that the school was inherently liable for the death by dint of failing to have a defibrilator present at the gym,even though Education Law § 917 provides "[s]chool districts . . . shall provide and maintain on-site in each instructional school facility automated external defibrillator (AED) equipment . . . to ensure ready and appropriate access for use during emergencies."

Although you might think this ruling is odd, it's actually correct. Here's why:

"The defendants submitted evidence ... that the decedent was breathing and had a pulse until seconds before EMS personnel arrived. The defendants further established that CPR procedures should not be performed on, or an AED used on, an individual who is breathing and has a pulse, and also that 911 was promptly called."

In other words, the AED device wouldn't have helped in this case.

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