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Doe v. Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Doe (plaintiff) sued Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints (defendant) for negligently failing to warn.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    There is no duty imposed on a defendant to warn others even if that warning is to prevent harm.

    Facts.

    Plaintiffs Jane Doe, and her son, John Doe were a part of the same church as George Tilson. Tilson was the high priest at the church, as well as the leader of the church sponsored troop. Between 1976 and 1996 Tillson lured both plaintiffs into his home and fondled them. Plaintiff learned that the defendant may have had knowledge that Tillson had previous instances of abuse and she sued arguing the defendant negligently failed to warn them.  

    Issue.

    Whether there is a duty imposed on a defendant to warn others even if that warning is to prevent harm?

    Held.

    No. There is no duty imposed on a defendant to warn others even if that warning is to prevent harm.

    Concurrence.

    None

    Discussion.

    There is only a duty to warn another person when that warning will prevent harm if there is a special relationship such as parent/child. For example, this duty will only be imposed if the defendant has control wither over the victim or over the wrongdoer. Here, the defendant did not have control over Tillson nor was Tillson and agent or employee of the defendant. While Tillson was a member of the defendant’s church, they did not have control over him at the time of the abuse.


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