PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY: Regents of the University of California v. Superior Court (Rosen)* (California Supreme Court, S230568)
CMA, along with other amici, filed an amicus brief in support of the UC in this case involving vicarious liability for third party criminal or insane conduct. In this case, the plaintiff was a student at the University of California, Los Angles when she was attacked by another UCLA student during a chemistry laboratory. Prior to the attack, the attacker had received mental health treatment from UCLA.
Plaintiff filed a negligence action against UC and the UC unsuccessfully moved for summary judgment on the ground that it owed no duty to protect the plaintiff from third party criminal conduct. UC appealed to the Court of Appeal where the majority found that the UC did not owe a legal duty to protect the plaintiff. The dissenting opinion, however, proposed an expansion of universities’ protective duty in the classroom setting and that UCLA had an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to keep their classrooms safe from foreseeable threats of violence.
CMA’s amicus brief argues against expanding the duty of care and cautions that such a expansion will adversely affect California health care providers. Such an expansion would allow victims of criminal conduct to pursue claims of vicarious liability for failure to prevent third party criminal conduct not just against educational institutions, but also institutions providing health care. On March 22, the California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal decision and held that the UC had a duty to protect their students from foreseeable violence during curricular activities. The Court held that colleges have a special relationship with students while they are engaged in activities that are part of the school’s curriculum or closely related to its delivery of educational services.