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September 2021

Judge Returns Defense Verdict for School District in an Alleged Sexual Assault Case

Ed Taylor and Katie Van Camp obtained a defense verdict for a local school district in a sexual assault case filed in the Circuit Court of Harrison County.  Plaintiff, a student, claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by a fellow student while practicing for a year-end school performance. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that she had been forced into a locker room where the assault occurred. She asked the Court to award her maximum damages of $500,000.00.

The case was defended on the grounds that the alleged incident was consensual or if there was an assault, it was not reasonably foreseeable to school employees. Pursuant to the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, the case involved a bench trial in front of Circuit Court Judge Randi P. Mueller. After the trial, Judge Mueller issued a memorandum opinion and order finding for the School District.  The Court found that the school district did not breach its ministerial duty to supervise and maintain discipline.  The Court further found that if an assault occurred, it was not foreseeable to the school district.