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City of Milford to Pay $5 Million to Settle Claims of Maren V. Sanchez Estate Arising Out of Murder at Jonathan Law High School

December 20, 2019 


Lawyers for the Estate of Maren V. Sanchez, the sixteen year old high school student murdered by a mentally disturbed fellow student in the hallways of Jonathan Law High School (“JLHS”) in Milford on April 25, 2014, the day of her junior prom, announced today that the Estate has reached a $5 million settlement with the City of Milford resolving the Estate’s claims against the school district for failing to properly respond to the threats posed by Maren’s killer, Christopher Plaskon.

The settlement was reached after a Superior Court judge refused to grant the City’s motion to dismiss the case, finding that the Estate had presented substantial evidence to support its contention that school counselors had failed to comply with the mandatory provisions of school district policies adopted to prevent school violence. Maren had gone to her counselors to report her concerns about Plaskon’s behavior, but the counselors failed to follow the Board of Education’s policy for dealing with students with potential for violent actions. JLHS principal Francis Thompson testified in the case that the Board’s policy was intended to protect students like Maren and had been violated by the counselors’ failure to notify the school administration of Maren’s report, so that a Clinical Intervention Team could be convened to address Plaskon’s condition and any safety concerns. Former JLHS Assistant Principal Paul Cavanna testified in the case that the mandatory provisions of the policy had previously been invoked to deal with potentially violent students on over ten occasions and always been successful in preventing student harm.

The Estate also presented expert evidence from Dr. Robert Kinscherff, a nationally-renowned psychologist experienced in addressing issues of student violence, that had the school system intervened with Plaskon in response to Maren’s report, proper treatment and medication would have alleviated his mental disturbances and prevented the murderous attack.

David S. Golub of the Stamford law firm of Silver Golub & Teitell LLP, attorneys for the Estate, stated, “This settlement recognizes the importance of compliance with school anti-violence policies. Especially in these times where violence in schools is so prevalent, the school personnel’s failure to comply with the mandatory provisions of the District’s policy was inexcusable. This tragedy did not have to occur.”

Donna Cimarelli, Maren’s mother and the founder and president of The Maren Sanchez Home Foundation, a foundation formed to educate and empower young women to defend themselves against physical and emotional violence and abuse, issued the attached statement.

The settlement was reached after two full days of mediation before retired Connecticut Superior Court Judge Antonio Robaina.

For more information, call David S. Golub, 203 253-9444.

STATEMENT OF DONNA CIMARELLI CONCERNING SETTLEMENT OF LAWSUIT

It has been almost six long years since Maren was stolen from us. This journey has been one of insurmountable anguish and grief, as well as hope. The physical loss of such a vibrant, loving, magnificent magical soul that was Maren is something that no lawsuit can ever make up for. During this difficult time, we have chosen to focus our energies on the efforts of the Foundation that proudly bears Maren’s name, The Maren Sanchez Home Foundation. Our mission – then, now and forever – will be to educate and empower young women by helping to provide them with the tools they need to defend themselves against emotional, physical and psychological manipulation and abuse. Maren lives on through her Foundation, which will pay it forward by continuing its work in the hope that the events that led to her tragic and brutal death, which could have been prevented had mandatory reporting procedures been followed, never happen again.

Donna Cimarelli
Maren’s Mother
CEO/Founder/President
The Maren Sanchez Home Foundation

To learn more about The Maren Sanchez Home Foundation or to support us on her mission, please visit https://marensanchezhomefoundation.org/. To book a Her-Self Defense Class or Her-Self Awareness Lecture, please contact Maria Schwerdtle, maria@marensanchezfoundation.org.