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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

J.S. and M.S. v. R.T.H.

Headnote

Plaintiffs’ children were sexually abused by a neighbor for more than a year. The plaintiffs sue the neighbor’s wife, based on the argument that if she had suspected or should have suspected the abuse, she owed a duty of care to prevent it. In this case, the court debates whether a spouse has a duty to prevent his or her partner’s abuse of children, based solely on suspicion of abuse, or circumstances which should have led to that suspicion. To settle the debate, the court engages in a complex analysis that weighs and balances several, related factors.