When a statute itself expressly authorizes a private right of action, there is no need for further analysis. When a statute is silent, courts have had to determine whether a private right of action may be fairly implied. In making the determination, a court asks: (1) whether the plaintiff is one of the class for whose particular benefit the statute was enacted; (2) whether recognition of a private right of action would promote the legislative purpose; and (3) whether creation of such a right would be consistent with the legislative scheme.
N.Y. Educ. Law §905(1) required school authorities in New York to examine students between eight and sixteen years of age for scoliosis at least once in each school year. Plaintiffs alleged that, as a result of defendant school district's failure to comply with this screening requirement, plaintiffs' daughter's ailment was allowed to progress undetected. Plaintiffs' complaint against the school district was based on the alleged violation of N.Y. Educ. Law §905(1), as well as a claim of common law negligence. Defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted.
Was the court's dismissal proper?
The court determined that N.Y. Educ. Law §905(1) did not create a private right of action, and that plaintiffs had otherwise failed to state a claim for common law negligence. A private right of action was not consistent with the statutory scheme. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court's dismissal.