Subscribe to School Law Newsletter
Close Window

Civil Recovery for Criminal Assault Is Separate than Tortious Assault

In the case of Silvaggio v. Ashtabula Area City Sch. Bd. Of Educ., N.D.Ohio No. 22-cv-862, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144853 (Aug. 12, 2022), a federal district court held that (1) a claim against a intervention specialist who allegedly wrongfully detained a special needs student in a restroom was appropriate under the Fourth Amendment, and (2) a claim for civil liability for criminal assault is separate than a tort claim for assault and battery.

In this case, the parents argued that (1) the detainment of the special needs student in a restroom constituted a school-based seizure under the Fourth Amendment, and (2) civil liability for criminal assault is a separate claim under R.C. 2307.60. In response, the school employee argued that (1) excessive corporal punishment must be brought under the Fourteenth Amendment, not the Fourth; and (2) R.C. 2307.60 does not create a cause of action and the claim of civil assault and criminal assault is duplicative, so one claim must be dismissed. The federal district court agreed with the parents.

In support of its decision, the federal district court explained that “it is well settled that a claim of unreasonable seizure by a public-school official must be brought under the Fourth Amendment, and the reasonableness of a school-based seizure is determined by considering whether the seizure was ‘excessive in light of the student’s age and sex and the nature of the infraction.’” Opinion and Order at 4-5. The federal district court further explained that R.C. 2307.60 does create a cause of action, and that claims for civil and criminal assault can both be brought because different elements are used to prove civil and criminal assault.

To read this case, click here.

NOTE: This case regarded the denial of a motion to dismiss and assumed that all allegations are true. The final result of the case may be much different if any or all allegations are shown to be false.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.