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Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

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May 10, 2022

Doe v. Anderson Union High School District et al. (Apr. 13, 2022, C093099) ___ Cal.App.5th ___

Plaintiff high school student sued her school district for negligent supervision of a teacher who developed the sexual relationship with the student. Prior to the district first learning of the sexual relationship and immediately taking corrective action, it had not obtained any facts, reports, or rumors suggesting that the teacher had engaged in an improper relationship. The trial court granted summary judgment for the district, finding that the harm was not foreseeable, i.e., there was no evidence the district knew or should have known that the teacher posed a risk of harm to students. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that such a foreseeability finding applied only to determine a school district’s hiring duty, not its duty to supervise.

The Court of Appeal affirmed, stating that a duty to supervise requires a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm. Citing John R. v. Oakland Unified School Dist. (1989) 48 Cal.3d 438, the court emphasized that the district had no knowledge or information to make it reasonably foreseeable that the teacher and plaintiff would have a sexual relationship. Though the high school maintained security camera footage and alarm system data covering the teacher’s classroom, it would have been unreasonable to require the district to constantly monitor all teachers, students, and campus visitors or specifically monitor the teacher and plaintiff given the absence of other evidence alerting the school district to a foreseeable risk of harm.