Head of probation department not a cause of sexual assaults where she ignored initial claim
Jane Doe sued Natalie Shaul, director of the probation department of the 27th Judicial Disrict Court, alleging that she was grossly negligent in responding to a claim that a codefendant probation officer, Robert Samson, was accosting female probationers and soliciting sexual favors. Doe alleged that if Shaul had reacted properly to the claim by a former probationer, Samson would have been discovered earlier and Doe would not have been harassed. Ultimately Samson was charged with multiple felonies after Doe reported him and he committed suicide.The Court of Appeals reversed the trial judge, who had denied summary disposition in Shaul's favor. It denied Doe the right to a jury trial, holding that regardless of the allegations or notice to Shaul, her neglectful supervision of Samson's actions and the previous allegations against him was not "the" cause of Doe's mistreatment. This holding is another out-growth of Republican judicial activism: until the insurance-oriented Republicans attained a majority in the Court, the statutory requirement of causation was interpreted to hold governmental employees accountable if they were "a" significant contributor to injuries. A combination of legislative action and Supreme Court activism substantially expanded the immunity enjoyed by governmental entities and actors.