School corporation sued by attacked students wins on appeal

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A student who filed a lawsuit against his school corporation after he was assaulted by a fellow student while a teacher was in the hallway lost his negligence case on appeal Thursday. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the school.

Richard Prancik was a seventh grader at Oak Hill Junior High School in November 2009 when he was put in a choke hold from behind by student K.M. in a classroom during a passing period. Prancik lost consciousness and injured his face when he fell. The classroom teacher, Rita Nolan, was standing in the hallway during the passing period supervising students as required by school policy. She did not see the incident.

The Court of appeals reviewed several cases addressing the nature and scope of a school’s duty to prevent children from coming to harm while in the school’s custody and care and the quantum of proof necessary to establish a possible breach of that duty. The cases show that courts will not shy away from holding as a matter of law that a school did not breach its duty to reasonably supervise children in their care and control where the facts warrant such a holding. Prancik’s case warrants a ruling in favor of the school corporation.

While Nolan could have positioned herself better to be able to view students in both the classroom and hallway, which may have prevented the attack, such speculation is insufficient to avoid summary judgment, Judge Michael Barnes wrote in Richard Prancik, b/n/f, Renee Prancik v. Oak Hill United School Corporation, 27A05-1302-CT-86.

There’s no evidence K.M. had violent tendencies or of any prior altercations between the two students. Nolan was following school policy and the time that Prancik and K.M. were left unobserved was no more than four minutes.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.