The Liability Of A Negligence Tort Suit For School Districts

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Introduction: Tort can be defined as, “an act or omission which unlawfully violates a person’s right created by the law, and for which the appropriate remedy is a common law action for damage by the injured person (AA pg632). There are four main types of tort, these are: a) intentionally interferences, b) strict liability, c) negligence, and d) defamation (AA). Tort cases involving schools predominantly involve parents as plaintiffs and the school personnel as defendants. Although tort cases are relatively common, only around one-third of the plaintiffs are successful with their suits (A). However, as successful plaintiffs receive damages, on average worth more than $ 1 million, school districts are wise to avoid this…show more content…
However, there is a growing concern that this trend is about to change.
For a successful negligence tort case the plaintiffs must demonstrate the following four elements: a) the existence of a legal duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff; b) a breach of the legal duty by the defendant; c) causation between the defendant’s acts, or failure to act, and the plaintiff’s injury suffered; and d) damages suffered by the plaintiff (A&A C 273). In both landmark cases, the courts failed to: 1) acknowledge a defined existing legal duty by the school district to educate their students, and 2) prove causation between the school district 's actions and the students’ lack of learning (B). While many lawyers and educators viewed these two landmark cases as the end of this type of tort some now believe the trends in educator effectiveness now make this type of case a lucrative and viable lawsuit (B & C). Authors Hutt and Tang (2013) and authors DeMitchell, DeMitchell and Gagnon (2012) argue that the failure of Peter W. and Donohue negligence claims rest in the historic context from when they were tried. As curriculum and professional practice standards are now more clearly defined, these authors suggest that is now practical for a plaintiff to establish a duty of the school to educate students or remove underperforming teachers

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