Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
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Lieff Cabraser Files New Lawsuit Against the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut Over Allegations of Drugging and Sexual Abuse of a Student

On October 12, 2018, Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel filed the latest in a series of lawsuits against the exclusive Hotchkiss college preparatory school in Connecticut, over allegations that a teacher at the Hotchkiss School drugged and sexually assaulted a student at the school in the 1990s. In addition to seeking justice for the former student plaintiff, the lawsuit seeks to uncover a pattern of tolerance, institutional cover-ups, and multiple predation events at the school going back decades. The suit also calls for a “truly independent” investigation of sexual abuse at Hotchkiss, citing a previous study by the law firm Locke Lord that the current pleadings describe as “woefully incomplete.”

As reported by the Hartford Courant, the suit alleges that “When Smith was the school’s only trainer, with no credentials or background, he would ‘treat’ students at night in the locker room or in his apartment located in a boy’s dormitory, and provided ‘muscle relaxants’ to students. He also encouraged students to come to his apartment for ‘assistance’ with their school work, the complaint alleges.” What’s more, as the article continues to note, “Year after year, Smith remained in his roles as English teacher, dorm head, and athletic trainer despite repeated complaints of sexual abuse from individual boys, and explicit references in yearbooks and in campus articles written by students to Smith’s promiscuity and pedophilia.”

The lawsuit alleges negligence, recklessness, failure on the part of the school to take necessary and appropriate measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of child sexual predation, the negligent infliction of emotional distress, the intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of fiduciary duty, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief to ensure the sexual abuse of students at Hotchkiss does not recur.

The newest lawsuit against Hotchkiss comes on the heels of earlier proceedings putting forth similar allegations of sexual abuse and predation on students. To contact Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin about the case, call us toll-free at 1 800 541-7358 or use the form on the Hotchkiss sexual abuse case web page.