• October 5, 2016
Shumway Hall, Shattuck-St Mary's School, Faribault, Minnesota, photo by Jonathunder

Shumway Hall, Shattuck-St Mary’s School, Faribault, Minnesota, photo by Jonathunder

Update (October 5, 2016): U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery (D. Minn.) denied Shattuck-St. Mary School’s motion for summary judgment and its motion to exclude Plaintiff’s expert today. The only “success” that the school might celebrate is that Judge Montgomery agreed with U.S. Mag. Judge Steven E. Rau’s determination that two of the plaintiffs cannot make claims for punitive damages. Judge Montgomery did, however, overrule Judge Rau as to one of the three plaintiffs, who will be allowed to make a claim for punitive damages.

A question with no answer: How can one settle on a dollar amount to compensate for the injury caused by sexual abuse?

An irrelevant side note: Plaintiffs’ expert in the case against Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, arising out a former teachers sexual misconduct is named Prof. Charol Shakeshaft. Prof. Shakeshaft is noted for her studies on sexual abuse of students by school staff. One might suggest this is an example of “nominative determinism,” even if not on the same level as the real-life urologist Dr. Richard Chopp.

Update (July 22, 2016): On the heels of the recent post about the tragic death of Tristan Seehus, I note another lawsuit against a school based on the school’s alleged inaction in the face of alleged harm to students: Doe v. Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, originally discussed here a while ago (see below).

Shattuck-St. Mary’s brought a motion for summary judgment, which was argued earlier this week before U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery (D. Minn.) Here is the school’s legal argument in support of its motion. In a nutshell, the school argues that it did not have knowledge of its former teacher, Lynn Seibel’s criminal sexual conduct with Shattuck students, and that the teacher’s conduct was unforeseeable. The school also argues that a statute of limitation bars the claims and that plaintiff suffered no compensable damages. The plaintiffs’ response is, predictably, that the school did have knowledge, or that it should have, that the misconduct was foreseeable, that the statute of limitations does not bar plaintiffs’ claims, and that plaintiffs did suffer recoverable damages. Here is the plaintiffs’ response to Shattuck’s argument. And, finally, here is the school’s reply brief.

It is difficult to predict how this motion will fare although it is safe to say that the legal standard applicable to the movant, that is the school, can be difficult to attain.

Original post (June 5, 2015) (under headline,Shattuck-St. Mary’s & Institutional Damage Control) : “To say that our school’s approach to education is innovative is an understatement! We prove, in and out, to be nimble, attuned, and forward thinking.”

These talents are to be tested as the Faribault, Minnesota boarding school with a distinguished history of academic and athletic excellence extracts itself from alarming allegations and resulting lawsuits from several years of alleged sexual abuse at the school that, it is alleged, the school was aware of but failed to react to so as to prevent on-going abuse.

Fair warning: the linked complaint is basically pornographic.

When an institution is faced with such allegations — if we assume there is substantial truth to them (the surrounding facts seem quite damning) — it is a puzzle, maybe an insoluble one — as to how an institution is to make appropriate amends and move beyond what appears to have been a very dark chapter of the school’s recent history.


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