The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant school district was entitled to a directed verdict in this action which alleged plaintiff’s daughter was injured when a faculty member used a microphone to tell the students to be quiet. It was alleged loudness of the command caused injury:
In order to prevail on a negligence claim, ” ‘a plaintiff must demonstrate (1) a duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, (2) a breach thereof, and (3) injury proximately resulting therefrom’ “… . On appeal, defendant disputes the element of breach only. To that end, the standard to which defendant and its employees are held is “that degree of care which a reasonable [parent] of ordinary prudence would exercise under the circumstances, commensurate with the apparent risk involved” … . Further, “[w]hen a duty exists, nonliability in a particular case may be justified on the basis that an injury is not foreseeable” … .
Although the proof at trial reflected that a school faculty member had “yelled” two words into a microphone and “was really loud” in doing so, there was no proof presented that those words were spoken in a manner or at a volume that was unreasonable, foreseeably unsafe, or in violation of any applicable standard of care. In other words, “[w]ithout knowing what is ‘too loud’,” “there [was] no standard of care by which a jury could determine on the evidence presented that defendant had breached a duty owed to plaintiff”… . Because there was no “rational process by which the [jury] could base a finding in favor of [plaintiff]” on the element of breach, we conclude that the court erred in denying defendant’s motion for a directed verdict … . Joni C. v Cheektowaga-Sloan Union Free Sch. Dist., 2021 NY Slip Op 04859, Fourth Dept 8-26-21