• June 6, 2018

For years now, Minnesota Litigator has tried to catch the next big wave in civil litigation. We have tried to predict growth in particular areas of civil litigation and we kind of caught this one (September 5, 2017: He Sad/She Sad, The Next Big Wave?). Hang ten. Kowabunga.

Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello, how low
Hello, hello, hello

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido…

As young humans mature to adulthood, we know their bodies and brains go through enormous change, arguably unlike (and more intense) than any other stage in a person’s life. For some years now, scientists (and the rock band, Nirvana) have taken the position that adolescent cognitive development is a unique and sometimes tumultuous phase in a person’s life.

Schools (and colleges), of course, are the bomb factories where our kids’ hormonal fire-works are set off. Consider the fix that St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts is in.

Three students have reported…a pattern of harassment that [John Doe] engaged in including inappropriate touch: sitting too close, touching without permission, grabbing a student’s leg by the crotch, licking a student’s hand, grabbing a student from behind and groping. Each student has communicated verbally and non-verbally to [John Doe] that they want him to stop. In each case, he escalates his behaviors.

Sitting too close? Touching without permission? Says who? Good luck investigating (let alone proving or disproving) these claims, right?

In fact, Young Doe and his parents deny any wrong-doing by the Doe-Boy. As tempting as it might be for all of us to take a position based on our own prejudices and biases (i.e., “oh, you know he had to have done it,” “men in our culture are taught, groomed, and permitted to be predators,” “is horse-play a crime now?”, “and the presumption of innocence and due process mean what again?” etc., etc.), one thing all honest readers will concede is that none of us know what actually happened or did not happen with Doe at the SPCPA.

We also know that our educational systems are caught in the cross-fire with no place to hide. Doe and his parents are suing SPCPA, claiming that the school bungled the investigation and improperly disciplined Doe.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel (D. Minn.) ruled last week:

Construing the Amended Complaint in a light most favorable to the Plaintiffs, the Court finds that Plaintiffs’s Amended Complaint sufficiently alleges that (1) SPCPA owed John Doe a duty of care based on its own policies and procedures; (2) SPCPA breached its duty of care to John Doe; (3) John Doe sustained injuries; and (4) SPCPA’s breach was the proximate cause of John Doe’s injuries.

LEVENTHAL pllc has handled such civil claims on behalf of alleged victims of sexual wrong-doing and in the defense of alleged perpetrators. If, after reading this and thinking about your case, you think you might need a caring, committed, experienced, and ethical advocate, call LEVENTHAL pllc to discuss: 612-234-7349.

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