As reported by, U.S. District Judge Victor Bolden (D. Conn.) has ruled that a former student’s lawsuit against the prestigious Hotchkiss School in Connecticut alleging sexual abuse by Roy Smith, a teacher at the school in the 1990s, may move forward. Though the judge dismissed a count of intentional infliction of emotional distress against Hotckhiss, he ruled that the case can proceed on the four other counts, those of breach of fidicuary duty, recklessness, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin co-represents the plaintiff student in the lawsuit, along with her colleague Wendy R. Fleishman and the New Haven law firm Zangari Cohn Cuthbertson Duhl & Grello. “Our client is pleased and gratified that his claims are going forward. He is anxious to hold the school accountable for what they put him through by harboring Smith and giving Smith access and opportunity to sexually assault my client,” Martin said.

Speaking to the Hartford Courant, Martin added, “I think if you asked most Hotchkiss parents if they felt the school had a duty to protect their children from sexual predators on campus, they would say, ‘yes.’ ”

In the lawsuit, originally filed in October 2018, a former student identified by the pseudonym Richard Roe said Smith sexually assaulted him in his junior year at Hotchkiss. The suit details several incidents of alleged sexual abuse, including allegations that Smith drugged Roe at one point before assaulting him. Lieff Cabraser filed a separate suit in 2015 on behalf on another former Hotchkiss student, who alleges sexually assault by Smith. That case is pending.

Contact a Sexual Abuse Lawyer at Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin is leading the litigation for our firm on behalf of those who suffered violence, abuse, and harassment at Hotchkiss and at other schools and academic environments. You can contact Annika by telephone at 800 541-7358 or you can use our confidential contact form. There is no charge or obligation for your outreach, and all information will be held in the strictest confidence.

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