Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Magistrate Rules On Admissibility of Expert Opinion In Negligent Supervision Suit Against LDS Church

In A.R. v. Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140679 (D CO, Sept. 30, 2013), a Colorado federal magistrate judge ruled on an expert's qualifications and the portions his report that are admissible in a lawsuit charging the LDS Church with negligent hiring, negligent supervision, breach of fiduciary duty, and outrageous conduct.  The suit was filed by a 15-year old who had sexual relations with a 40-year old LDS Sunday school teacher who, she subsequently found out through Facebook, was engaged to another woman. The teacher, who has plead guilty to sexual assault, is also being sued. In assessing the expert's qualifications, the court said in part:
... [A]bsent any proof that there is a specific standard of care that applies to churches who are hiring Sunday school teachers, Mr. Isenstadt is qualified to render an opinion regarding the limited topic of the desirability of conducting a background check as part of hiring practices in general.

1 comment:

John Pack Lambert said...

The big problem I see here is that the accused in this case was not "highered" as a teacher. He was called as a teacher. This was an assignment extended by the bishop, with no monetary renumeration. The attempt to treat non-paid people who don't even exactly volunteer under the same rules as employees will be greatly detrimental to the work of churches. It also would seem to mandate more records on the part of churches and undermine a separation from the government.