Del. SC affirms ruling for school district

Jessica M. Karmasek Jun. 1, 2011, 3:36pm


DOVER, Del. (Legal Newsline) -- The Delaware Supreme Court last month affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of a school district after a woman fell on the school's parking lot.

The plaintiff, Betty Bantum, allegedly suffered injuries after slipping on New Castle County Vo-Tech School District's icy lot.

The school district, however, had leased the premises to a local organization for an event that day.

Bantum argues that the New Castle County Superior Court erred in granting summary judgment for the school district because Title 14, Section 1056(h) of Delaware Code immunity does not apply to negligence for failing to inspect the premises and failing to warn of known and existing dangers.

She also argues that the superior court erred in granting summary judgment for the school district because it waived, or should be estopped from asserting, Section 1056(h) immunity.

Title 14, Section 1056(h) provides that "(a)ny school board which permits the use of public school property for any use other than for public school use shall not be liable in tort for any damages by reason of negligence in the construction or maintenance of such property."

The Court, in its May 18 opinion, concluded that Section 1056(h) provides the school district with immunity in these circumstances. It also concluded that the school district did not waive, and is not estopped from asserting, that immunity.

"Accordingly, we find no merit to Bantum's appeal and affirm the judgment of the Superior Court," Justice Henry duPont Ridgely wrote in the Court's 13-page ruling.

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