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Doe v. Boys Club of Greater Dallas, Inc – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Doe v. Boys Club of Greater Dallas, Inc. 907 S.W.2d 472, 477 (Tex. 1995), the supreme court held that "cause in fact is not shown if the defendant's negligence did no more than furnish a condition which made the injury possible." Id.

The court explained that "'the evidence must go further, and show that such negligence was the proximate, and not the remote, cause of resulting injuries . . . . and justify the conclusion that such injury was the natural and probable result thereof.'" Id. (quoting Boyd v. Fuel Distributors, Inc., 795 S.W.2d 266, 272 (Tex. App.--Austin 1990, writ denied)).

"Even if the injury would not have happened but for the defendant's conduct, the connection between the defendant and the plaintiff's injuries simply may be too attenuated to constitute legal cause." Id.

In Doe, the plaintiffs were young boys and their grandparents, who had enrolled the boys in a summer camp through the Boys and Girls Club in June of 1986. Id. at 475-76.

They sued the Boys and Girls Club after a camp counselor molested the boys. Id. The boys met the counselor at the camp, but the counselor then made friends with the grandparents, going to their home and even spending the night. Id.

The sexual abuse occurred on overnight camping trips that occurred in the fall of 1986 and again in the summer of 1987, not organized by the Boys and Girls Club, but personally between the counselor and the grandparents. Id.

The grandparents and the boys alleged that the Boys and Girls Club was negligent in failing to screen and supervise its counselors, but the only items on the counselor's record that would have been discovered by a proper search and screen were two prior convictions for driving while intoxicated. Id. The supreme court held that the counselor's presence at the club was "but a preliminary condition in the course of events which made possible his assaults" on the boys, and given that the molestation did not occur on the club's premises, any failure to supervise the counselor was not a producing cause of any of the injuries. Id. at 478.