Stating a Claim for Negligent Supervision in New York - The Importance of an Employer-Employee Relationship

Under New York law, “[a] defendant generally has no duty to control the conduct of third persons so as to prevent them from harming others.”  D'Amico v. Christie, 71 N.Y.2d 76, 524 N.Y.S.2d 1 (1987).              

To state a claim for negligent supervision under New York law, “in addition to the standard elements of negligence, a plaintiff must show: (1) that the tort-feasor and the defendant were in an employer-employee relationship, (2) that the employer ‘knew or should have known of the employee's propensity for the conduct which caused the injury prior to the injury's occurrence, and that the tort was committed on the employer's premises or with the employer's chattels.”  See Zilloli v. City of New York, Slip Op., Case No. 17-cv-9495 (S.D.N.Y. April 1, 2020) (Pauley, J.) (quoting Ehrens v. Lutheran Church, 385 F.3d 232, 235 (2nd Cir. 2004) (per curiam) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted); see also, D'Amico, supra; N.X. v. Cabrini Medical Center, 280 A.D.2d 34, 43, 719 N.Y.S.2d 60 (1st Dept. 2001) (whether there was a heightened duty or not, liability may not be found to lie unless it can be said that the harm was foreseeable); Kenneth R. v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, 229 A.D.2d 159, 654 N.Y.S.2d 791, 793 (2nd Dept. 1997). 

Absent an employer-employee relationship between an alleged tort-feasor and his or her employer, no claim for negligent supervision under New York law may properly be found to lie.