The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff in this Child Victims Act action alleging sexual abuse by a priest while plaintiff was attending defendant’s parish school stated causes of action for negligent hiring, negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress. “The complaint alleged .* * * the priest … was an employee and/or an agent of the defendant, that the defendant had knowledge that the priest was abusing students, including the plaintiff, or that he had the propensity to abuse, and that the sexual abuse of the plaintiff occurred during school activities and during times at which the plaintiff was under the defendant’s supervision and care, custody, and control.”:
An employer can be held liable under theories of negligent hiring, retention, and supervision where the complaint alleges that “the employer knew or should have known of the employee’s propensity for the conduct which caused the injury” … . Causes of action alleging negligence based upon negligent hiring, retention, or supervision are not statutorily required to be pleaded with specificity … .
… [A] school “has a duty to exercise the same degree of care toward its students as would a reasonably prudent parent, and will be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately related to the absence of adequate supervision” … . “The duty owed derives from the simple fact that a school, in assuming physical custody and control over its students, effectively takes the place of parents and guardians” … .
… [T]reating the allegations in the complaint as true, including that the defendant had knowledge of the priest’s sexual abuse of the plaintiff and other children and concealed that abuse, and giving the plaintiff the benefit of every possible favorable inference, the alleged conduct would be sufficiently outrageous in character and extreme in degree to set forth a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress … . Novak v Sisters of the Heart of Mary, 2022 NY Slip Op 06814, Second Dept 11-30-22
Practice Point: In an action pursuant to the Child Victims Act, plaintiff alleged he was sexually abused by a priest while attending defendant’s school. The complaint alleged defendant knew about the abuse. The complaint causes of action for negligent hiring, negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress.