Town denies charges in suit
GREENWICH — In its first defense of a case of alleged bullying against a teenager in Greenwich schools that led to his suicide, the town’s legal team is denying most of the charges or claiming proof is needed for the lawsuit to proceed.
In court papers filed last week, Harold Friedman, the attorney representing Greenwich, wrote that the town was not liable in the suicide death in 2013 of Bart Palosz, a 15-year-old student at Greenwich High.
According to court papers, the town “denies any liability and denies that plaintiffs are entitled to damages.” The lawyer stated the “town denies that Bartlomiej F. Palosz (“Bart”) was subjected to a years-long history of unremitting bullying in the Town of Greenwich school system.”
The long-running lawsuit has been tied up on procedural issues for three years. The state Supreme Court rejected a petition in mid-October to review the case on those procedural issues, regarding whether government employees or bodies can be sued in their official capacity. With that issue resolved, the town has submitted its first papers responding to the legal complaint, over the issue of whether educational authorities did not prevent bullying in the schools and were liable for the death of Bart Palosz.
He shot himself in the head after the first day of his sophomore year at Greenwich High School in August 2013. His family said officials did not investigate or discipline students who had bullied their son, and they filed a suit against the town of Greenwich and the Board of Education.
The town’s motion is denying most of the claims in the lawsuit filed by the teen’s parents, contending that the school administrators were negligent. The town’s legal motion, however, states there were some charges in the lawsuit that were true.
It was true that “concerns regarding Bart were communicated to ... assistant principals at Western Middle School while Bart was a student.” The town’s lawyer acknowledges that in “October 2012, in Bart’s biology class, Bart’s cell phone was thrown on the ground.” Another admission was correct, the court papers state, that a counselor at Greenwich High School sent an email out to teachers that stated, “Please keep an eye out for Bart in your classrooms and let me know if you notice anything that I should be aware of.”
The motion by the town, filed last week in Superior Court, says the other claims in the lawsuit will have to be proven.
The lawyers representing the Palosz family are seeking to proceed with the discovery phase, in which records and documents kept by the school district can be released and analyzed. The additional release of documents and other material in the school district’s handling of the teen’s issues was delayed while the case went through various appeals on procedural issues.
The lawsuit was filed against the town and the school board in August 2015.