In April of 1993 Jason Robinson was a student at Darmouth High School. In the early morning hours of the school day, three assailants were involved in a violent altercation at the school with two other of Jason’s classmates and possibly Jason himself. After the altercation the assailants fled the school and Jason was detained by school officials. A classmate of the individuals informed school officials that the three individuals who were the assailants planned to return to the school and retaliate against Jason. The assailants did in fact return some hours later, this time, heavily armed. The assailants were unimpeded by school officials and made their way to an upstairs classroom where they stabbed Jason to death.
The individual who stabbed Jason was subsequently convicted of murder in the second degree by the Massachusetts court system. Jason’s mother, Elaine Brum, filed an action in Superior Court against the town of Darmouth and various town and school officials alleging a failure to maintain adequate security measures at the school which amounted to negligence. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the mother’s claim based on Massachusetts General Law Chapter 258 § 10(J), which does not allow a lawsuit to be filed against the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions where the claim is:
“based on an act or failure to act to prevent or diminish the harmful consequences of a condition or situation, including the violent or tortious conduct of a third person, which is not originally caused by the public employer or any other person acting on behalf of the public employer.”