Julie Katz, a 19-year old high school graduate was on a 10-month program in Israel sponsored by a synagogue. She was staying on a kibbutz when she injured her knee. The program director explained that if a student needed a doctor for something minor, he or she could seek help without assistance at a nearby medical center. However, if a more serious matter arose, a staff member would go with the student and if the student was in a remote location, the group would arrange for his or her transportation.
After Katz was injured, she asked for assistance in receiving medical treatment, as she was far from the city center in a country where she was not very familiar with the language. It was recommended that she receive physical therapy, but she was unaware how to navigate the Israeli medical system to obtain the services. Katz sued the synagogue for negligent supervision of her medical care when they did not assist her in obtaining physical therapy services.
The synagogue filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted on the theory that it owed no duty to Katz, since the state of New York holds that at the college level, the educational institution does not stand inloco parentis to students. The appellate court held, however, that due to the unique factual circumstances of the "gap year" program, Katz had raised enough issues to survive summary judgment, and the case should proceed to determine if the synagogue did owe her a duty, if the duty was breached, and if the synagogue's inaction led to Katz's prolonged recovery.
Katz v. United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, -- N.Y.S.2d --, 2014 WL 299326