The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the “negligent parental supervision” cause of action against the parents of an autistic child who assaulted plaintiff school psychologist should not have been dismissed. In addition, the parents did not demonstrate their son was, due to his disability, incapable of being liable for negligence or assault. The facts are not discussed:
The plaintiff * * * was assaulted by the defendant David George (hereinafter David), an autistic student with an IQ of 41, who was almost 14 years old at the time. * * *
“While, as a general rule, parents are not liable for the torts of their child, a parent may be held liable, inter alia, where the parent[s] negligence consists entirely of his [or her] failure reasonably to restrain the child from vicious conduct imperilling others, when the parent has knowledge of the child’s propensity toward such conduct'” … . Thus, a parent moving for summary judgment dismissing a cause of action alleging negligent supervision based on the physical tortious conduct of the parent’s child, must establish, prima facie, that the parent was not aware that, prior to the subject incident, his or her child engaged in violent or vicious conduct that would endanger a third party … . …
The defendants’ contention that the branch of their motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against David, on the ground that due to his developmental disability he was “non sui juris and incapable of being liable for negligence” or assault …, is without merit. Levine v George, 2022 NY Slip Op 05032, Second Dept 8-24-22
Practice Point: Parents are usually not responsible for the torts of their child. In this case the autistic child assaulted plaintiff school psychologist. The facts were not discussed, But the appellate court determined the “negligent parental supervision” cause of action should not have been dismissed.