Brooklyn Heights

Poly Prep loses bid to dismiss child abuse allegations in appeals court

October 16, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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The Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department has upheld a lower court’s ruling against Poly Prep Country Day School in a negligence case involving sexual abuse claims. 

The plaintiff, Christopher Forbes, initiated the suit under the Child Victims Act, alleging that he was sexually abused by a football coach while attending Poly Prep from 1969 to 1971.

Poly Prep had sought to dismiss the allegations of negligence and negligent hiring, retention, and supervision. However, the appeals court affirmed the denial of the motion, thus allowing the case to proceed.

The court’s decision stated, “On a motion to dismiss a cause of action pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(5) as barred by the applicable statute of limitations, the defendant bears the initial burden of demonstrating, prima facie, that the time within which to commence the cause of action has expired.” 

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The further emphasized that “the Supreme Court properly denied those branches of Poly Prep’s motion which were to dismiss the causes of action alleging negligence and negligent hiring, retention, and supervision insofar as asserted against it on the ground that the CVA violates the Due Process Clause of the New York State Constitution.” 

The appellate court noted that the Child Victims Act (CVA), and particularly CPLR 214-g that provides a window for the revival of civil claims related to sex crimes against minors, “was a reasonable response to remedy the injustice to child sexual assault survivors caused by application of the relevant statute of limitations.” 

The court declared, “Causes of action alleging negligent hiring, negligent retention or negligent supervision are not statutorily required to be pleaded with specificity.” In accepting the allegations as true, the complaint “sufficiently pleads a cause of action to recover damages for negligent hiring of the football coach.”


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