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John Doe v. Diocese of Brooklyn, et al.

Calcaterra Pollack LLP represents a survivor of an alleged childhood sexual assault, John Doe (“Plaintiff”), in a lawsuit under New York’s Child Victims Act (“CVA”) against numerous Defendants including the Diocese of Brooklyn and Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn (John Doe v. Diocese of Brooklyn, et al. Case No. 515444/2020 (NY Supreme Court). Plaintiff alleges that he was a student at a high school owned and operated by the Diocese of Brooklyn and was assaulted by other students during a school trip outside of New York. Plaintiff further alleges that a teacher witnessed the assault but did nothing and then, along with a school principal and the perpetrators of the assault, took steps cover it up.

While several defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s case and/or obtain summary judgment, Plaintiff prevailed in opposing these motions in several key respects. In particular, while the defendants argued that the CVA did not revive Plaintiff’s claims because the alleged assault took place outside of New York, the Court held that the CVA revives claims of childhood sexual assault against New York residents, regardless of where the assault occurred. The Court also held that Plaintiff’s complaint adequately alleged certain negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress causes of action. In doing so, the Court provided helpful guidance on the applicable law, confirming the duty of care owed by schools to their students to provide adequate supervision and the elements of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Further, the Court refused to dismiss all of Plaintiff’s claims against all but one defendant.