Phelps v. Boy Scouts of Am – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Phelps v. Boy Scouts of Am., (305 AD2d 335, 762 N.Y.S.2d 32 [1st Dept 2003]) "very young campers" were placed in bunks at a camp with "much older campers," who allegedly assaulted the young campers. The court denied summary judgment to BSA, finding that there were triable issues as to whether the camp negligently supervised the campers and whether BSA had "sufficient control over the operation of the camp" to be held liable for the camp's negligent supervision.

The court observed that a summer camp has a duty to supervise its campers as would a parent of ordinary prudence in similar circumstances, and that constant supervision in a camp setting is neither desirable nor feasible.

However, the court also allowed that very young campers often require closer supervision than older campers, and that placing the younger campers in the bunks with the older campers was an apparent violation of camp policy.