Court or­ders par­ties to get mov­ing on Palosz case

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - News - By Robert Marchant [email protected]­

GREEN­WICH — A state Su­pe­rior Court judge has or­dered par­ties to speed up the process in the wrong­fuldeath law­suit in­volv­ing a 15- year- old boy who killed him­self af­ter what his par­ents said were years of be­ing bul­lied in Green­wich schools.

Astip­u­la­tion was reached by the town’s de­fense team and lawyers rep­re­sent­ing the fam­ily of Bart Palosz, set­ting dead­lines for the dis­cov­ery process — the ex­change and review of doc­u­ments, cor­re­spon­dence and other in­for­ma­tion re­lated to Bart’s in­ter­ac­tions with other stu­dents and school staff — in prepa­ra­tion for a trial.

The long- run­ning law­suit has been tied up on pro­ce­dural is­sues for more than three years. Bart com­mit­ted sui­cide in 2013, on his first day as a sopho­more at Green­wich High School. The law­suit filed by his par­ents said the school ad­min­is­tra­tion did not in­ves­ti­gate in­ci­dents or dis­ci­pline stu­dents who had bul­lied their son.

David Golub, the Palosz’s lawyer, has crit­i­cized what he called the town’s le­gal de­lays and said his team had re­ceived none of the ma­te­rial they had sought from the town af­ter nu­mer­ous re­quests.

At­tor­neys for the town have dis­puted that claim. Town At­tor­ney Wayne Fox has said the town has turned over vo­lu­mi­nous in­for­ma­tion. “We have pro­vided ex­ten­sive dis­clo­sure ... some thou­sand pages of doc­u­ments,” he said near the start of last year. “There has been ex­ten­sive dis­cov­ery.”

No de­po­si­tions have been taken in the case.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­cent stip­u­la­tion, the dis­cov­ery process must be­gin this month, and the town and the school dis­trict “shall as­sert no ob­jec­tions to any of those in­ter­roga­to­ries or pro­duc­tion re­quests,” un­less there are le­git­i­mate le­gal rea­sons for do­ing so.

The sched­ul­ing or­der, filed this week, es­tab­lishes the time­line for when writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tions must be pro­duced and when de­po­si­tions of wit­nesses and ex­perts must take place. The process will start in Jan­uary and run through Septem­ber, and the stip­u­la­tion says var­i­ous penal­ties can be im­posed if dead­lines aren’t met.

Pro­ce­dural is­sues around the case have gone to the state’s high­est court. The state Supreme Court re­jected a pe­ti­tion in Oc­to­ber to review the case on the grounds of “sov­er­eign im­mu­nity,” a le­gal con­cept that as­serts that gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees or bod­ies can­not be sued over their of­fi­cial acts.

Late last year, the town en­tered its first le­gal de­fense on the bul­ly­ing is­sue. “The town de­nies that Bart­lomiej F. Palosz (‘ Bart’) was sub- jected to a years- long his­tory of un­remit­ting bul­ly­ing in the Town of Green­wich school sys­tem,” the mo­tion stated. It de­nied li­a­bil­ity in the case, and the mo­tion said the other claims in the law­suit will have to be proven.

The law­suit was filed against the town and the school board in Au­gust 2015. It charges that the school ad­min­is­tra­tion was neg­li­gent in its han­dling of Bart’s cir­cum­stances.

The amount of dam­ages has not been spec­i­fied. A $ 7.5 mil­lion of­fer by the Palosz fam­ily to set­tle the case in early 2017, as part of the court process, was not pur­sued.

Bart Palosz

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