In a recent appeal in a New Mexico personal injury case, the New Mexico Court of Appeals addressed whether a charter high school was entitled to the protections set forth in the New Mexico Tort Claims Act (TCA) and whether the negligence claim asserted against the school fell within a waiver of the TCA.
The facts of this case indicate that a student was assaulted and battered in the parking lot by another student who had been upset by an earlier interaction. The victim suffered serious injuries that required surgery and painful rehabilitation. Teachers investigated immediately after the incident and removed the aggressor from the general population at school.
The plaintiffs (including the guardian of the victim) brought a lawsuit against the high school and others. The allegations against the school stated that the school owed the victim a duty to keep the premises safe and that they had failed to do so by failing to provide adequate security. Additionally, the complaint alleged that the high school is a privately operated charter school, so it is not within the scope of the TCA. The immunity afforded by the TCA, according to the complaint, was waived for the school’s negligence.