Summary of Hegel v. Langsam , Ct. of Common Pleas Ohio, 1971
Failure to Act
Relevant Facts: 17 yr old student enrolled at a University in Chicago, Illinois, became associated with criminals, seduced, became a drug abuser, and unavailable at her parents’ request.
Legal Issue(s): Whether the University owes a duty to prevent harm, arising out of illegal and voluntary conduct, to students enrolled therein?
Court’s Holding: No.
Procedure: Df’s Motion for judgment on pleadings (summary): Granted.
Law or Rule(s): Failure to prevent the voluntary acts of another does not create liability.
Court Rationale: There is no requirement of the law placing on a university or its employees a duty to regulate the private lives of their students, to control their comings and goings and to supervise their associations. The role of a university is to teach and advance the accumulation of knowledge, not to babysit, or imprison. Attendance is a voluntary process after a person’s qualifications have been accepted.
Plaintiff’s Argument: df permitted 17 yr old student, to participate in behavior which cause her harm.
Defendant’s Argument: df owed no duty to prevent or bar the free will of a student.