School District Not Responsible for Actions of Player

Oct 21, 2005

A New York State appeals court has affirmed the ruling of a lower court, finding the defendant school district was not responsible for the actions of a player, who attacked the plaintiff.
The incident sparking the litigation occurred during a basketball game when the plaintiff, a referee, was assaulted by a player. The game was organized by a not-for-profit entity, but hosted at the Watervliet High School. The player, who had a history of violent behavior, was a student at WHS.
After the incident, the plaintiff sued the school district. The defendant school district moved for summary judgment.
After considering the motion, the court noted that the plaintiff “conceded before Supreme Court that defendant had no responsibility for organizing the tournament or Acevedo’s participation, that Acevedo did not play in the tournament in his capacity as a student of defendant, and that, although defendant’s employees were involved in the tournament, they organized the tournament on behalf of Arsenal City and not in their roles as defendant’s employees. Defendant had no duty to supervise Acevedo under these circumstances (cf. Schrader v Board of Educ. of Taconic Hills Cent. School Dist., 249 A.D.2d 741, 742, 671 N.Y.S.2d 785 [1998], lv denied 92 N.Y.2d 806, 700 N.E.2d 320, 677 N.Y.S.2d 781 [1998]).
“Moreover, even assuming that defendant undertook the provision of security against physical attack, public entities such as defendant are immune from tort claims arising out of the performance of governmental functions absent the showing of a special relationship between the injured party and the public entity (see Goga v Binghamton City School Dist., 302 A.D.2d 650, 651, 754 N.Y.S.2d 739 [2003]; Perry v Board of Educ., Gouverneur Cent. School Dist., 189 A.D.2d 939, 940, 592 N.Y.S.2d 493 [1993]) and plaintiff has failed to make any such showing here.”
James P. Curcio v. Watervliet City School District et al.; S. Ct. N.Y., App. Div., 3d Dept.; 96783, 97736; 8/11/05
Attorneys of Record: (for plaintiff) James P. Curcio, Pro se. (for defendant) Michael T. Snyder of Maynard, O’Connor, Smith & Catalinotto.


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