A.H. v. Church of God in ChristAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Plaintiff's complaint against a church deacon and his wife, the local church, and the national denomination claiming that the local church and the national denomination (collectively, the church defendants) had known of a prior sexual-abuse allegation against the deacon and had done nothing to warn or protect her, holding that Plaintiff stated legally viable claims of negligence and respondent superior against the church defendants.
The church deacon was convicted of sexually abusing minors over the span over several years and received two life sentences. Plaintiff, one of the victims, filed this suit alleging several claims. The circuit court granted the church defendants' demurrers and dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the circuit court (1) erred in dismissing Plaintiff's claim asserting negligence based upon a special relationship between her and the church defendants and erred in dismissing Plaintiff's respondent superior claim; (2) properly dismissed Plaintiff's claims for negligent hiring, retention, and supervision, as well as Plaintiff's claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress as a stand-alone tort; and (3) properly dismissed Plaintiff's claims for punitive damages.