Legal Memorandum: Daycare Provider's Duties in MN

Issue: What is the duty owed by a daycare provider to minor children in Minnesota?

Area of Law: Family Law
Keywords: Daycare provider; Minor children
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 539 N.W.2d 789; 112 Cal. App. 3d 206; 391 N.W.2d 836; 447 N.W.2d 165; 276 A.D.2d 413
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 09/01/2012

In general,

If the law is to impose a duty on A to protect B from C’s criminal acts, the law usually looks for a special relationship between A and B, a situation where B has in some way entrusted his or her safety to A and A has accepted that entrustment.  The special relationship also assumes that the harm represented by C is something that A is in a position to protect against and should be expected to protect against.

Erickson v. Curtis Inv. Co., 447 N.W.2d 165, 168 (Minn. 1989).  See also Anders v. Trester, 562 N.W.2d 45 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997) (finding no special relationship between a fast food restaurant and a customer).

The Supreme Court of Minnesota has issued three decisions that shed some light on the duty owed by a daycare provider to minor children.  In Andrade v. Ellefson, 391 N.W.2d 836 (Minn. 1986), the Court held Anoka County had a special relationship with children at a daycare because it undertook regular inspections of the daycare facility as part of its licensing scheme.  When County employees inspected the facility and had actual knowledge of licensing violations, yet continually renewed the license, the Court suggested that a special relationship arises.  Ultimately, the Court found a special relationship existed because the children constituted a special class by statute to whom certain duties were owed that […]

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