26Dec 2014

The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed a summary judgment order obtained by Partner, Robyn McGrath, and Senior Associate, Denise Montgomery, in a case where a fifteen year old special education student was shot on the grounds of his school. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant school on the grounds of charitable immunity. On appeal, plaintiff argued that the trial court had erred in holding that the conduct of the defendant school and its employees did not constitute gross negligence as a matter of law and that the question should be decided by a jury.

In affirming, the appellate division noted the dearth of authority on this particular point but accepted the defense arguments regarding compliance with applicable standards and the lack of foreseeability of this type of injury to the plaintiff. The court also agreed with defense arguments regarding the applicability of charitable immunity to employees who, plaintiff argued, were exempt from immunity as licensed professionals. The court held that these individuals were employed by the school and did not interact with the plaintiff at the time of the shooting in their professional capacities as a psychologist and licensed social worker.