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Friday, April 9, 2010

New York Court of Appeals addresses assumption of risk defense in school context

Trupia v. Lake George: Generally the content of this blog is limited to special education issues. This case, while not a special education case, could nonetheless be of interest to folks reading the blog. The case addresses the doctrine of assumption of risk in a school context. The majority opinion is a bit obtuse, thus I quote from the concurring opinion to summarize the gist of the case:

Assumption of risk cannot possibly be a defense here, because it is absurd to say that a 12-year-old boy "assumed the risk" that his teachers would fail to supervise him. That is a risk a great many children would happily assume, but they are not allowed to assume it for the same reason that the duty to supervise exists in the first place: Children are not mature, and it is for adults, not children, to decide how much supervision they need.