J.S. and M.S. v. R.T.H

Quick Facts

–          Analogous to Tarasoff – here the wife, had reason to know of a particular victim that could foreseeably be in danger.

–          Even though, this is a duty case, where there is such a distinct possibility that something like this will happen, from the facts, it also has the proximate cause aspect of the 4 required prongs.


Wife (Defendant) of pedophile is being charged which negligence to warn the proper authorities, or try and stop a foreseeable event that took place over a year, where her husband was molesting two girls that were next-door-neighbors.  Parents of the girls are Plaintiffs.

–  P states that wife was negligent and it rendered the injury to the girls.


Does a wife, have a duty, when pedophiliac activities are foreseeable, to protect the girls from getting assaulted.




Special relationship to a perpetrator – when a spouse has actual knowledge, or reason to know of the likelihood of his or her spouse engaging in sexually abusive behavior against a particular person or persons, a spouse has a duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent or warn the harm.

Court reasoning

–          A person, who has a special relationship with the Defendant, if they have a reason, or should have a reason (foreseeability) to know that the Defendant is going to, or has hurt a particular (specific) third party, that person who has the special relationship has a duty to prevent such things from taking place.

–          When the breach of such a duty (failure to warn or help the assaulted girls) constitutes a proximate cause of the resultant injury.

–          Foreseeability is foundational element as to whether a duty is owed to the plaintiff.

–          D visited everyday, unsupervised with the two girls.

  • Seems a little vague to impose a duty on the wife (my opinion).


Affirmed, appellate courts decision, wife does have a duty to render care


Based upon the facts, it seems that the pedophile really did not give the wife any legit reason to know that he was molesting these girls…He didn’t do anything, according to the facts of the case, within the home to lead the wife to believe that he was a pedophile.

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