United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. McCONNELL, JR., Chief United States District Judge.
Doe was sexually assaulted by John Doe ("John") in
her bedroom during the first night of a study abroad program
in Ireland organized by the Rhode Island School of Design
("RISD"). Ms. Doe now sues RISD, asserting
negligence (Count I) and premises liability (Count II). ECF
No. 19. RISD moves for summary judgment on each count. ECF
reasons stated below, the Court DENIES RISD's Motion for
Summary Judgment on Count I but GRANTS its Motion for Summary
Judgment on Count II.
facts relevant to deciding this Motion for Summary Judgment
start of its 2015-16 academic 3rear, RISD, through
its Continuing Education Office and Global Affairs Office,
began planning a summer study abroad program in Ballyvaughan,
Ireland (the "Ireland Program"). ECF No. 27-1 at 2,
¶¶9- 11. RISD identified the Burren College of Art
("Burren College") as its host school in
Ballyvaughan. Id. at ¶¶ 11-14. Robert
Brinkerhoff, a RISD Professor of Illustration, was the
faculty advisor of the Ireland Program and chose Timothy
Blaine-Kuklo, a student finishing a dual degree program at
RISD and Brown University, to serve as his teaching assistant
and resident assistant ("TA/RA"). Id. at
¶¶11, 14, 18. Among other responsibilities, Mr.
Blaine-Kuklo was to be responsible for "[a]ssisting in
the students' orientation to [their housing]
accommodations" and with "health and safety
requirements". ECF No. 33-26 at 1, ¶5.
of its planning process, RISD worked with Burren College to
locate the housing that its students would stay in during
their four weeks in Ballyvaughan. ECF No. 27-1 at 4-6,
¶¶ 19-31. RISD informed Burren College that it
wanted all its students to be housed together along with Mr.
Blaine-Kuklo. Id. at ¶20. RISD did not provide
Burren College with any other expectations or requirements
for the housing, including with respect to security. ECF No.
33-2 at 25-26, ¶¶ 180-81, 185-87. The RISD
employees planning the Ireland Program, however, understood
their role to include arranging safe housing for the
students. Id. at ¶¶180-81, Burren College
initially recommended a large house near its campus, known as
the "Lodge". ECF No. 27-1 at 4, ¶21. The
Lodge, however, could not accommodate the fourteen RISD
students participating in the program and Mr. Blaine-Kuklo.
Id. at ¶24. As an alternative, the Burren
College located housing in three adjacent houses with the
Burren Atlantic Hotel and Holiday Village ("Burren
Atlantic"), a local hotel owned by a private hotel
property manager. Id. at ¶29; ECF No. 30-3 at
1. RISD accepted these accommodations and memorialized its
agreement with Burren College in a Group Study Abroad
Agreement. ECF No. 27-1 at 6, ¶30. In advance of the
program, Burren College invoiced RISD for the costs of the
Ireland Program, including the student accommodations at the
Burren Atlantic. Id. at ¶31. The costs for the
student accommodations were included in each student's
registration fee for the program. See ECF No.
to the start of the Ireland Program, Professor Brinkerhoff
assigned housing for each of the fourteen RISD students and
Mr. Blaine-Kuklo. ECF No. 27-1 at 9, ¶46. The
assignments were made based upon each student's expressed
preference to be in either a single or double bedroom.
Ireland Program began on June 18, 2016. Id. at
¶7. Professor Brinkerhoff and Mr. Blaine-Kuklo arrived
in Ballyvaughan before the students. Id. at
¶¶52, 53. Upon arriving, they each met with Julia
Long, Burren College's Group Study Abroad Coordinator,
Id. at ¶¶52, 54. Ms. Long discussed the
student housing with Professor Brinkerhoff and Mr.
Blaine-Kuklo, including securing the exterior of the houses.
Id. Each of the three houses had a lock to its
exterior door with only one key to lock and unlock it.
Id. at ¶54. Ms. Long informed Mr. Blaine-Kuklo
that he and the students would need to decide on a hiding
place for this key. ECF No. 33-2 at 13, ¶138. Whether
the bedrooms had locks and keys was not discussed.
Id. at 14, ¶139.
and her fellow RISD students arrived in Ballyvaughan on June
18, 2016. ECF No. 27-1 at 11, ¶56. They were greeted at
the Burren Atlantic by Professor Brinkerhoff and Mr.
Blaine-Kuklo, who discussed with the students the need for a
hiding spot for the exterior keys. ECF No. 33-2 at 14-15,
¶¶145, 147. Ms. Doe and John were each assigned to
a single bedroom on the second floor of the same house. ECF
No. 27-1 at 9-11, ¶48, 60.
night of June 18, 2016, a group of students, including Ms.
Doe and John, went out for drinks to celebrate their arrival
and John's birthday. ECF No. 33-2 at 15, ¶151.
Before midnight, Ms. Doe and John left together and John
escorted Ms. Doe back to her room. Id. at ¶152.
Prior to leaving her room, John asked Ms. Doe if she would
kiss him. Id. at ¶154. Ms, Doe said she would
kiss him on the cheek. Id. John left and Ms. Doe
closed the door to her room and got into bed, wearing all her
clothing. Id. at 16, ¶155. After sending text
messages to a friend, Ms. Doe went to sleep. Id. at
¶156. Ms. Doe was unable to lock her bedroom, so the
room remained unlocked while she slept. See ECF No. 27-1 at
in the night, Ms. Doe awoke to the feeling of someone on top
of her. ECF No. 33'2 at 16, ¶157. Feeling paralyzed,
she realized it was John and that she no longer had clothes
on. Id. John raped Ms. Doe, orally and by vaginal
penetration. Id. at 17, ¶158.
reported the sexual assault to RISD. ECF No. 27-1 at 11,
¶61. She first reported it to Mr. Blaine-Kuklo, who,
after discussing with Ms. Doe, reported it to RISD's
Title IX Office. Id. at ¶¶61, 64. Ms. Doe
subsequently submitted a formal complaint against John to
RISD's Title IX Office and requested a noxontact order
and his removal from the Ireland Program. Id. at 14,
¶74. John was dismissed from the Ireland Program the
next day and ordered to leave. Id. at 15, ¶77.
John accepted responsibility for the sexual assault and was
suspended by RISD for three years, with possible
re-admittance for the Fall of 2019. Id. at 16,
to the Ireland Program, an allegation of sexual misconduct
was reported to RISD during a 2013 study abroad program in
Rome. ECF No. 33-2 at 1, ¶85. The student complainant
alleged that another RISD student entered her room while she
was sleeping and sexually assaulted her. Id.
Following the report, an investigation was conducted under
RISD's Code of Student Conduct. ECF No. 40 at 1,
STANDARD OF REVIEW
making a summary judgment determination, the Court must
review the entire record and consider the facts and
inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. Cont'l Cas. Co. v. Canadian Univ. Ins.
Co.,924 F.2d 370, 373 (1st Cir. 1991). Federal Rule of
Procedure 56(a) dictates that summary judgment should be
granted if "the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." A genuine dispute of
material fact is an issue that "may reasonably be
resolved in favor of either party." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). A dispute
is "genuine" when "the evidence about the fact
is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the point in
favor of the nonmoving party." Rivera -Muriente v.
Agosto-Alicea,959 F.2d 349, 352 (1st Cir. 1992) (citing
United States v. One Parcel of Real Prop., 960 F.2d
200, 204 (1st Cir. 1992)). If there is a genuine dispute ...