John Y., Jr. v. Chaparral Treatment Ctr., Inc., 101 Cal. App. 4th 565 (2002)

A jury awarded John Y., a minor, over $2.7 million as a result of a counselor’s sexual molestation of him while he lived at a group residential facility for emotionally troubled youth. Although a significant portion of the damages (including punitive damages) was awarded against the Chaparral Treatment Center (the counselor’s employer), the minor appealed the judgment on the ground that the trial court had refused to instruct the jury that it could find Chaparral liable not only for its own negligence and breach of mandatory duties but also vicariously liable for the counselor’s actions pursuant to BAJI jury instructions 13.01 and 13.06 and certain special instructions. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s refusal to issue the instructions in question on the ground that “the abuse of [the counselor’s] authority to indulge in personal sexual wrongdoing is too attenuated to permit a trier of fact to view his sexual assaults as within the risks allocable to his employer.”