Jain v. State of Iowa
Iowa Supreme Court
617 N.W.2d 293 (2000)
Jain was an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Iowa (defendant). On November 20, 1994, resident assistants at Jain’s dormitory were alerted to an argument of Jain’s room. Jain’s girlfriend notified the resident assistants that Jain had moved his moped into his room with the intention of committing suicide by inhaling carbon monoxide. Jain admitted he was trying to commit suicide but assured the resident assistants he would seek counseling. The following day, a university official, Merritt, met with Jain, offered counseling services through the university, and gave Jain her personal phone number and asked that he call her anytime he felt like hurting himself. Jain agreed and reported that he would talk to his family over Thanksgiving break, which began the next day. Merritt sought permission from her supervisor to notify Jain’s parents about the incident, but the supervisor refused. The university had an unwritten policy of notifying parents of students who attempt suicide. Jain’s parents were not notified of his mental state by either the university or by Jain. Upon returning to campus following Thanksgiving break, Jain moved the moped back to his room and committed suicide by carbon-monoxide poisoning. Jain’s father (plaintiff), as the administrator of his estate, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the university, alleging that had the university notified him of Jain’s mental state, his suicide could have been prevented. The university filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it had no legal duty to prevent Jain from harming himself. The trial court granted the university’s motion for summary judgment, and Jain’s father appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Neuman, J.)
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