By Robert Marchant, Stamford Advocate. GREENWICH — Lawyers continue to spar over documents in a lawsuit filed by the parents of a 15-year-old Greenwich student who committed suicide in August 2013, as a key ruling might move the case forward after a slow start.
A state Superior Court judge has denied a motion by the town to dismiss the case. Documents held by the Greenwich Board of Education will likely be turned over to lawyers suing the town and the school district for what they say was negligent behavior.
The lawsuit contends that school staff were aware that Bart Palosz endured bullying for years but did not follow internal policies to sufficiently protect him. Bart’s parents says that bullying led to his suicide after the first day of his sophomore year at Greenwich High School.
Judge Irene Jacobs recently turned down the town’s motion to strike the wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Anna and Franciszek Palosz. The town’s legal staff argued that the town should be protected under the legal doctrine of “sovereign immunity,” asserting government employees or bodies cannot be sued for their official acts.
The lawyer representing the Palosz family, David Golub, said he was upset at what he called delaying tactics in the case. He has not received documents he has requested from the town, he said.
“There are documents in the town and school records, which show they ignored the bullying that Bart was undergoing, in violation of the law, and the town has refused to turn over any of those documents in discovery,” said Golub.
Meanwhile, the town has been requesting medical and psychiatric records about Bart, as well as personal effects from his bedroom like posters, photographs, journals and personal correspondence. Golub said those documents have been turned over.
“We have complied with their discovery requests. We’ve given them the relevant stuff — and they won’t respond to our discovery requests,” said Golub, based in Stamford.
“They’re deliberating trying to obstruct and delay the case. Delay is the game,” Golub said.
The lawsuit was first filed in August of 2015.
Town lawyers have said they were following necessary procedures in the case. Town Attorney John Wayne Fox said recently that the questions of sovereign immunity and jurisdictional matters had to be ruled on by a judge before the suit could unfold.
The family in Janurary put forth an “offer of compromise” to settle the case for $7.5 million. The offer isn’t likely to advance. The town filed paperwork recently saying it was looking to turn down the offer or get another six months to review it, according to the lawyer representing the town in the lawsuit, Harold Friedman.
“Very little substantive discovery has been done in this case,” Friedman wrote. “Basic information regarding the alleged instances of bullying … have not yet been produced (by the family).”
With the procedural issues out of the way following the judge’s ruling in late March, the legal proceedings are likely to move forward — toward mediation, settlement or a trial.
“As a result of the ruling, we’ll have to set up a new schedule for finishing discovery and the trial,” said Golub.