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Court Holds School Bullies Liable for Student's Emotional Distress Claim

by Joseph C. Maya on Apr. 19, 2017

Other Education Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: Blog post about a court finding legal liability against a school for the actions of a bully.

If you have a question or concern about special education law, school administration, federal standards, or the overall rights of a student, please feel free to call the expert education law attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. in Westport today at (203) 221-3100 .

In the case of Gasper v. Sniffin, a co-conspirator moved to strike a student's claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment that resulted from of a series of alleged incidents of harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying at a vocational school. In order for the bullied student to prevail in a case for liability under intentional infliction of emotional distress, four elements must be established. It must be shown: (1) that the co-conspirator intended to inflict emotional distress or that he knew or should have known that emotional distress was the likely result of his conduct; (2) that the conduct was extreme and outrageous; (3) that the parties’ conduct was the cause of the student’s distress; and (4) that the emotional distress sustained by the student was severe.

The co-conspirator, along with other classmates, doused the student with water after two others had locked him in a metal locker. Thereafter, the co-conspirator threatened the student with electrocution. The student also alleged that the co-conspirator had previously pushed him against a locker and threatened him. The court held that the allegation that the conduct was extreme and outrageous was sufficient to support the student's claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment. Therefore, the co-conspirator's motion to strike would be denied.

If you have a child with a disability and have questions about special education law, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq., at 203-221-3100, or at, to schedule a free consultation.

Source: Gasper v. Sniffin, 2003 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1363, 2003 WL 21152855 (Conn. Super. Ct. May 6, 2003)

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