Benjamin, age 5, and his brother Joshua, age 9, were enrolled at a summer day camp. Their parents dropped them off where they were then picked up by a bus and taken to the camp.

Buford, an individual with publicly avowed anti-Semitic views, entered the day camp area and began shooting. His bullet hit Benjamin. Joshua was not shot, but he “perceived” Benjamin’s shooting.

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After Benjamin recovered, his parents filed this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their children for negligence and breach of contract due to lack of security measures at the day camp.

The day camp operator replied it had no special legal duty to protect the campers from violent criminal assaults. Buford was criminally prosecuted and that should end the matter, the camp operator asserted.

IF YOU WERE THE JUDGE would you rule the day camp operator had a legal duty to provide security guards to protect the campers against a criminal intruder?

The judge said NO!

Because there had been no prior criminal attacks at the day camp, the judge began, this was a unique situation, which would have been very difficult to foresee and prevent.

Although there had been several telephone threats during prior months, that did not make the shooting foreseeable, he continued. “The shooting was an unexpected crime,” he emphasized.

“We conclude that these vague threats were not sufficiently specific so as to require that security measures be adopted to prevent a maniac from shooting children at a summer camp,” the judge ruled. Therefore, the camp operator is not liable to Benjamin, his brother, or his parents, the judge concluded.

Based on the 2003 California Court of Appeal decision in Kadish v. Jewish Community Centers, 5 Cal.Rptr.3d 394.

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