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Abernathy v. Sisters of St. Mary’s

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 446 S.W.2d 599, 1969 Mo.

Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Abernathy (Plaintiff), allegedly sustained injuries when the Defendant, Sisters of St Mary’s (Defendant), employee negligently failed to assist him as he moved from his bed to the bathroom. Plaintiff brought suit and the trial court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment based on the doctrine of immunity for charitable organizations.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The reasons for the common law rule of immunity for nongovernmental charitable organizations are no longer applicable, therefore the Supreme Court of Missouri abolished the rule.


Facts. The Plaintiff, Abernathy (Plaintiff), alleged that the Defendant’s employee negligently failed to assist him as he moved from his bed to the bathroom. This negligence resulted in Plaintiff falling and sustaining multiple injuries. Defendant moved for summary judgment, claiming that its status as a charitable institution provided it with immunity for its torts. The motion was sustained and judgment was entered for the Defendant.

Issue. Should nongovernmental charitable institutions be provided with immunity for actions resulting from their negligence and the negligence of their employees?

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