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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 100047
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My 15 yr old daughter was struck by a 40 yr woman at a

Customer Question

My 15 yr old daughter was struck by a 40 yr woman at a school meeting held by assistant principal. The meeting was call to resolve conflict between 3 parties parents included.Me nor my wife was present at the time. My daughter sustained head trauma and now very depressed. How can this be right ?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. Please tell me:

1) Were there other witnesses to the incident?

2) Was a police report filed?

3) How long ago did this happen?

4) Was the woman an employee of the school?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
there's witnesses. Yes a police report was filed. It happened 8-29-16 .The woman was not an employee, she wasn't even supposed tobe there. Her daughter is expelled.
Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.

Thank you.

First of all, since this just happened, it may take a little time for the police to act and for her to actually be charged. This is how it works:

1) a police complaint is filed;
2) the police investigate by questioning all parties involved and reviewing the evidence;
3) they pass on the information to the District Attorney;
4) the D.A. makes a decision whether to charge or not.

So it may be weeks or even months before she is formally charged.

Second, she can be sued civilly. To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

Herein, she may be sued for civil assault and battery, as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress. Punitive damages may be sought as part of the lawsuit, too, if it can be shown that she acted with with malice, fraud, gross negligence or oppressiveness. Austin v. Disney Tire Co., 815 F.Supp 285, 287 (S.D.Ind. 1993) (internal citations omitted).

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the You SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
What about suing the school and assistant principal?
Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.

I am afraid that this is unlikely. The woman was not a school employee. The school would be liable if she was, but she is not. And the school is not liable for the actions of third parties (even if she was at that meeting without needing to be there).

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Well how can a school employee call a meeting when she knows there bad blood between the parties without any security?
Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.

You can try to argue that the school was negligent in calling the meeting. To premise a recovery on a theory of negligence, a plaintiff must establish three elements: (1) a duty on the part of the defendant to conform his conduct to a standard of care arising from his relationship with the plaintiff, (2) a failure of the defendant to conform his conduct to the requisite standard of care required by the relationship, and (3) an injury to the plaintiff proximately caused by the breach. Miller v. Griesel (1974), 261 Ind. 604, 611, 308 N.E.2d 701, 706.

The problem is that you would have to show that the school knew 100% (or should have known) that the woman would attack the child. This is very hard to do. And unless this is proven, the school would not be liable. The woman remains liable, of course.

Please note: If I tell you simply what you wish to hear, this would be unfair to you. I need to be honest with you and sometimes this means providing information that is not optimal. Negative ratings are reserved for experts who are rude or for erroneous information. Please rate me on the quality of my information; do not punish me for my honesty.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
your telling me that the school is not responsible for the safety of my child ? And especially in a situation like this , when you the principal call the parties to meet in your office ?
Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.

No, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that traditionally, A is not responsible for B's actions in a situation, according to common law doctrine.

In order for A to be held responsible, the Plaintiff would have to show that A knew or should have known with certainty that B would attack and facilitated that attack.

So you'd need to show that the school KNEW or SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that the woman would strike your daughter, if you want the school to be held liable. This is traditionally hard to do.

Keep in mind I do not make the law or rules. Thanks again for not shooting the messenger, in advance.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.