March 09, 2012
California Supreme Court held that a school district may be liable for negligence of administrators in hiring, supervising and retaining employees due to the special relationship between the school district and students.
In C.A. v. William S.Hart Union School District, Case No. S188982, the plaintiff was assigned to the head guidance counselor for counseling who ended up engaging in sexual activities with plaintiff. The plaintiff filed suit against the school district alleging negligent supervision. The trial court sustained the district’s demurrer, ruling that there was a lack of statutory authority for holding a public entity liable for negligent hiring, supervision and retention. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, due to the special relationship between school district’s and students, supervisory employees have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to guard pupils against harassment and abuse from foreseeable sources. Thus, under Government Code section 815.2, the district may be vicariously liable for negligence of administrators in hiring, supervising and retaining employees.