Duty to Disclose

Special Relationship — Duty to Disclose

By on November 5, 2015 - Comments off

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Doe v. Superior Court (Sixth District, May 29, 2015) — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2015 WL 3429130

 The parents of an 8-year-old girl who was molested by a summer camp supervisor, filed an action against the church which ran the camp.  The parents asserted a number of causes of action on behalf of their daughter, as well as their own causes of action for intentional and negligent concealment. The parents alleged that the defendant had a duty to disclose to them the fact that the employee had previously been terminated for inappropriate conduct with other children, and that after he had been rehired he was fired again when employees suspected him of having engaged in inappropriate conduct with their daughter.

The trial court sustained the defendant’s demurrer to the parents’ intentional and negligent concealment causes of action without leave to amend, reasoning that while the defendant camp may have had a special relationship with children who attended the camp sufficient to create a duty to prevent harm to them, “a duty to prevent harm is not the same as a duty to disclose.”  However, the court of appeal issued a peremptory writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate the order, and to issue a new order overruling the demurrer, holding that the camp’s duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to the minor and her parents encompassed a duty to disclose a credible report of harm suspected to have already occurred: Read the rest »

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