The Third Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined the negligence and negligent supervision causes of action against the Warren County defendants in this Child Victims Act case should have been dismissed. The complaint did not adequately allege the Warren County defendants were aware of the danger posed by plaintiff’s foster father:
… [W]e agree with the Warren County defendants that Supreme Court should have dismissed the negligence and negligent hiring, retention, supervision and/or direction causes of action as they relate to the conduct in Warren County. The complaint alleged that, in approximately 1979, plaintiff was placed in a foster home in Warren County, where he was sexually abused by his foster father on numerous occasions. Although we are cognizant that pleadings alleging negligent hiring, retention and supervision need not be pleaded with specificity … , the complaint merely asserts that the Warren County defendants “knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known” that the foster father “had the propensity to engage in sexual abuse of children.” Unlike in the counties of Albany and Cayuga — where plaintiff alleges that he reported the sexual abuse, thereby providing the municipal defendants with notice of the dangerous condition — the complaint fails to assert any allegations of fact that would have provided the Warren County defendants with notice that the foster father presented a foreseeable harm. Because plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead that the Warren County defendants were provided notice of a dangerous condition present in the Warren County foster home, that claim could not survive a pre-answer motion to dismiss pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (7) … , and Supreme Court should have dismissed those claims against the Warren County defendants. Easterbrooks v Schenectady County, 2023 NY Slip Op 03889, Third Dept 7-20-23
Practice Point: In order to adequately plead a county was negligent in placing plaintiff in a foster-care situation where plaintiff was abused, the complaint must allege facts demonstrating the county was aware of the danger posed by the foster parent.