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Paladino v. Adelphi University

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Second Department

October 12, 1982

No Number in Original

Opinion

 [*86] OPINION OF THE COURT

 [**869]  At issue is whether recovery may be had against a private elementary school for  [**870]  breach of contract based upon its alleged failure to provide a quality education to a student enrolled in the school. We hold that such action does not lie. Further, we conclude that, under the facts here present, related claims predicated upon fraudulent misrepresentation and deceit must similarly be dismissed.

Michael Paladino [***4]  was enrolled at the nursery grade level at the Waldorf School in 1972 and continued at the school through the fifth grade. His teachers during this period sent evaluation reports to Michael's parents that assessed his performance in each area of his curriculum. In 1979, while he was attending fifth grade, Michael evidenced certain learning problems and his parents sent him to a private testing institution for independent evaluation. The results showed that Michael was not equipped with sufficient skills for fifth grade and was several grades below fifth grade level in arithmetic, reading and writing. Thereafter, the school refused to promote Michael to the sixth grade and his parents enrolled him in public school where he repeated the fifth grade.

Michael's father alleged in his complaint that the Waldorf School breached its agreement by failing to provide quality education, qualified and expert teachers, necessary tutorial and supportive skills, accurate and factual progress reports; and that it furnished false and misleading progress reports which reflected that Michael was making satisfactory progress in his studies and promoted him each year to the next grade. A second cause [***5]  of action was asserted on behalf of Michael as a third-party beneficiary of the agreement with the school and the father pleaded a third cause of action sounding in deceit based on the allegedly inaccurate progress reports and misrepresentations concerning the quality of the education. A fourth  [*87]  cause of action for deceit was also pleaded on behalf of Michael.

Special Term denied the school's motion for summary judgment holding that the established policy of our courts in refusing to entertain lawsuits for educational malpractice did not bar an action in contract nor one based upon fraudulent misrepresentation (110 Misc 2d 314). Our review of the case law and the record herein compels a contrary conclusion.

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89 A.D.2d 85 *; 454 N.Y.S.2d 868 **; 1982 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 17975 ***

Frank Paladino, Individually and as Father and Natural Guardian of Michael Paladino, an Infant, et al., Respondents, v. Adelphi University, Defendant, and Waldorf School, Appellant

Prior History:  [***1]  Appeal from an order of the Supreme Court at Special Term (George A. Murphy, J.), entered August 18, 1981 in Nassau County, which denied defendant school's motion for summary judgment.

 Paladino v Adelphi Univ., 110 Misc 2d 314, reversed.

Disposition: Order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County, entered August 18, 1981, reversed, on the law, without costs or disbursements, and motion for summary judgment granted.

CORE TERMS

grade, courts, teachers, misrepresentation, educators, cause of action, progress report, Education Law, private school, school system, arithmetic, progress, skills, fail to provide, public school, malpractice, enrolled, deceit

Education Law, Civil Liability, Educational Malpractice, Torts, Malpractice & Professional Liability, General Overview, Departments of Education, State Departments of Education, Authority of Departments of Education, Governments, Local Governments, Licenses, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Negligent Misrepresentation, Elements, Intentional Torts