Doe v. Darien Board of Education
In a sexual-abuse case, a court possesses the discretion to permit plaintiffs to amend a complaint, as a result of information that the plaintiffs' attorney obtains from the treatment notes of the minor child's psychologist. Allegedly, the minor plaintiff suffered sexual abuse when he was in elementary school. On Oct. 14, 2011, the minor plaintiff and his parents sued the municipality, the board of education and individual defendants. The plaintiff's complaint alleged assault and battery by defendant Zachary Hasak; negligence, reckless and wanton conduct; and violations of due process, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. In April 2012, the plaintiffs moved to amend the complaint, to add new claims of failure to protect the minor plaintiff and to report the conduct of the defendant, Zachary Hasak. Individual defendants objected that a three-year statute of limitations in Connecticut General Statutes §52-584 barred the plaintiffs' allegations that in 2009 two board of education workers failed to report Zachary Hasak. The defendants argued that virtually all of the "new" information was known to the plaintiffs previously, because there have been 13 depositions and nearly 20,000 pages of document production. The plaintiffs maintain that they were unaware of the alleged misconduct until March 2013, when their attorney received treatment notes from a treating psychiatrist, and the notes indicated that board of education worker Laura Conte allegedly entered a classroom when the minor plaintiff had his pants off, and that the defendant, Zachary Hasak, allegedly informed Conte that the minor plaintiff had soiled his pants. The plaintiffs requested permission to amend the complaint, to allege that Conte failed to protect the minor plaintiff and to report Zachary Hasak to authorities. The court found that new claims based on notes of the treating psychiatrist were timely. The court agreed with the plaintiffs that C.G.S. §52-577d is the pertinent statute of limitations for personal injury to a minor caused by sexual abuse. The discovery deadline has been extended to April 2014, and the court found that there is no prejudice to the individual defendants, as a result of this proposed amendment.