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Schultz v. Boy Scouts of America, Inc.

Court of Appeals of New York
480 N.E.2d 679 (1985)


Facts

Richard and Margaret Schultz (plaintiffs), along with their minor sons, Richard and Christopher, were domiciliaries of New Jersey. Both sons were sexually molested by Edmond Coakeley, a Franciscan Brother who taught the boys at their Catholic school and served as their Boy Scout troop leader. The molestation occurred during scouting trips to the Pine Creek Reservation in New York and continued, as to Christopher, in New Jersey. Christopher committed suicide, allegedly because of the sexual abuse. Mr. and Mrs. Schultz filed suit in a New York court against Coakeley, the Boy Scouts of America, Inc. (BSA), the Franciscan Brothers of the Poor, Inc. (Franciscan Brothers), the Pine Creek Reservation, and another individual (collectively, defendants) for personal injury and for Christopher’s wrongful death. At the time of the molestation, the domicile of the BSA was New Jersey; the domicile of the Franciscan Brothers was Ohio. By the time of the suit, the BSA had moved its domicile to Texas. If New Jersey law were applicable, the BSA and Franciscan Brothers could evade liability pursuant to charitable immunity. New York law, on the other hand, did not provide tort immunity to charities. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court applied New Jersey law. Plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Simons, J.)

Dissent (Jasen, J.)

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