California sexual assault lawsuit involves premises liability

California sexual assault lawsuit involves premises liability

A UC-Santa Barbara teaching assistant will be the defendant in a sexual assault lawsuit that also involves premises liability. A student at the university is claiming that the teaching assistant sexually assaulted her while the two were in his office. The alleged incident occurred on Valentines's Day in 2012. The woman was an undergraduate student at the university from 2008 to 2012.

The former student is claiming that she asked the teaching assistant for help with a paper. The assistant told the woman to meet him at 9 p.m. at a courtyard on campus. After the two went to his office, the teaching assistant allegedly began asking the woman personal questions. He then apparently touched the woman's breast without her consent. At this point, the student attempted to leave the office. However, the teaching assistant blocked her from exiting and stated that she would not be able to leave without his permission.

The lawsuit goes on to say that the teaching assistant pulled up the woman's shirt. He then allegedly forced her to her knees by claiming to have a knife. The teaching assistant then forced the woman to perform oral sex on him by overpowering her and forcibly opening her mouth. The claim states that the man also struck the woman's face several times and pulled her hair during the incident.

The woman is seeking damages for sexual battery, sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Interestingly, the suit also targets University of California Regents for negligence and premises liability. While this is not necessarily a typical premises liability case, it will be interesting to see how the woman's legal team establishes the location of the incident as a dangerous premises. Even in a violent case such as this, a plaintiff might be able to receive a larger settlement if property owners or administrators are found to be liable.

Source:, "Student Blames University for Sexual Assault" Matt Reynolds, Jan. 31, 2014


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