Court orders parties to get moving on Palosz case
GREENWICH — A state Superior Court judge has ordered parties to speed up the process in the wrongful-death lawsuit involving a 15-year-old boy who killed himself after what his parents say were years of being bullied in Greenwich schools.
A stipulation 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 punishments 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 subjected 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.