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Court: Greenwich not immune from lawsuit over student suicide

August 10, 2018

Greenwich Time, GREENWICH, CT (August 10, 2018) -- The town of Greenwich and its school system are not immune from a wrongful death lawsuit involving a 15-year-old boy who killed himself after what his parents say were years of being bullied, according to a ruling Friday from the second-highest court in Connecticut.

Three judges on the state Appellate Court said the trial court judge was correct in rejecting the town’s request to dismiss the lawsuit based on claims of immunity.

Bartlomiej “Bart” Palosz shot himself in the head after the first day of his sophomore year at Greenwich High School in August 2013. His parents say officials did not investigate or discipline students who had bullied their son.

The town has not yet decided whether to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.

David Golub, who has represented the Palosz family in the case, said Friday, “Connecticut’s Appellate Court today conclusively rejected the town’s attempt to avoid liability for Bart’s death. The town has now delayed dealing responsibly with this matter for nearly five years.

”It’s time for the Greenwich community to acknowledge its failure to protect Bart and to meet its obligations to the Palosz family,” Golub said.

On Friday, Town Attorney Wayne Fox said the town has not yet determined its next steps in the case, but said a decision is likely to come within the next couple of days.

“In the issue of sovereign immunity as it applies to the Board of Education, a fact pattern such as this is very significant and consequently we will have to review the case very carefully and make a decision, which we have not, about whether to file (an appeal) to the Connecticut Supreme Court,” Fox said.

A lot of work still has to be done, including depositions, before the case would be ready for trial, Fox said. He said the town would be working on that.

At issue in the case is the legal doctrine known as sovereign immunity, which asserts that government employees or bodies cannot be sued for their official acts.

The lawsuit, first filed in August 2015, contends that extensive bullying contributed to Bart Palosz’s decision to commit suicide. It claims school staff did not follow mandatory anti-bullying policies to protect him.

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