The Trumbull County Court Determines That…

Trumbull County Court Determines That a Child Sex Abuse Victim Has a Right to His Day in Court                                          

In the case of Fonderlin v. Trumbull Family Fitness, 2023 WL 2472994 (Eleventh District 2023), the Trumbull County Court of Appeals in Ohio concluded that genuine issues of material fact existed, warranting a trial as to whether the fitness operator assumed and violated a duty to supervise a child who was sexually assaulted by two other children in an unsupervised locker room while in the Trumbull Family Fitness afterschool program.  

 The trial court dismissed the case against Trumbull Family Fitness, finding that the center did not have a legal duty to protect a minor from the unforeseeable criminal act of third parties. The Court of Appeals determined that the trial court erred in dismissing the case. Under the general claim of negligence, the Court concluded that issues remained for the jury regarding whether Trumbull Family Fitness failed to supervise children in their care adequately. Additionally, the Court reaffirmed the Supreme Court of Ohio’s longstanding holding that “children have a special status in tort law and that duties of care owed to children are different from duties owed to adults.”  Published June 26, 2023.