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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Student's Bullying Lawsuit Against School District Dismissed

It's your lucky day - I have not one, but two school district/immunity cases for you today!

School District Immune from Bullying Lawsuit

An appellate court dismissed a student's lawsuit that claimed that his high school failed to provide a safe environment against bullying.  The student had reported to the school counselor and dean that he had been subjected to verbal and physical abuse at school.  In his lawsuit, he alleged that the school had a duty to provide a safe environment and had failed to do so by "willfully, wantonly, and with reckless disregard" ignoring his complaints of bullying. 

The school district filed a motion to dismiss, claiming it was protected from liability by tort immunity laws. The appellate court agreed, finding that the school district was protected from liability.  Specifically, the court held that how a school handles an instance of bullying falls within the definition of a discretionary act under Section 2-201 of the Illinois Tort Immunity Act. Malinski v. Grayslake Community H.S., 2014 IL App (2d) 130685-U (Mar. 10, 2014).

School District Not Immune from Liability for Student Injury in "Cafetorium"

A student was injured when she fell in her middle school's combined cafeteria/auditorium or "cafetorium." The school district filed a motion to dismiss under Section 3-106 of the Illinois Tort Immunity Act, claiming that the property was "intended or permitted to be used for recreational purposes."  The appellate court denied the school district's motion, finding that the principal use of the cafetorium was educational or incidental to educational uses.  Although the school did use the auditorium for band, chorus, and dramatic performances, the court held that those uses were educational and not recreational in nature.  As a result, 3-106 would not apply, and the student's lawsuit could move forward.  Abrams v. Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School, et al., 2014 IL App (1st) 132987 (Mar. 21, 2014)

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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