United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
JANE DOE, individually and as Mother and Next Friend of J.D., a Minor, Plaintiff,
THE LEAGUE SCHOOL OF GREATER BOSTON, INC., FRANK GAGLIARDI, PATRICK FULLER, SEAN BERTONI, and DONNA GRIFFIN, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Talwani United States District Judge
Jane Doe brings this action individually and on behalf of her
disabled child, J.D., against Defendants The League School of
Greater Boston, Inc. (“League School”), Frank
Gagliardi, Patrick Fuller, Sean Bertoni, and Donna Griffin.
Defendants' pending Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment [#97] seeks judgment as to Count VII of the
Complaint [#1], a claim for intentional infliction
of emotional distress under Massachusetts law. For the
reasons that follow, Defendants' motion is ALLOWED.
judgment is appropriate only “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “A dispute is genuine if the
evidence about the fact is such that a reasonable jury could
resolve the point in the favor of the non-moving party. A
fact is material if it has the potential of determining the
outcome of the litigation.” Patco Constr. Co. v.
People's United Bank, 684 F.3d 197, 206-07
(1st Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted). In resolving a motion for summary judgment, the
court views all properly supported evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-movant and draws all reasonable
inferences in the non-movant's favor. Griggs-Ryan v.
Smith, 904 F.2d 112, 115 (1st Cir. 1990).
Evidence as to Count VII Viewed in the Light Most
Favorable to Doe
forth in greater detail in the court's order addressing
League School's Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment [#102] on Count I of the Complaint, J.D. and
A.B. were both residential students at League School.
Defs.' Statement of Material Facts [hereinafter
“Defs.' SOF”] ¶ 1 [#99]. League
School's assistant principal, Patrick Fuller, learned in
June 2015 that A.B., then seventeen years old, had engaged in
inappropriate sexual touching with J.D., who was eleven years
old at the time. Pl.'s Statement of Add'l Mat'l
Facts [hereinafter “Pl.'s SOF”] ¶¶
4-6 [#113]. Fuller understood at the time that A.B.'s
behavior included A.B. pulling J.D.'s pants down and
touching him at least three times. Pl.'s SOF ¶ 6.
League School disclosed A.B.'s sexual molestation of J.D.
to Doe on June 12, 2015. Defs.' SOF ¶ 6.
the evidence in the light most favorable to Doe, as the
non-movant, the relevant further factual background is as
follows. A.B. underwent a psychiatric examination with Dr.
Andrew Clark in September 2015. Defs.' SOF ¶ 7.
During the evaluation, A.B. revealed that he had engaged in
additional, previously undisclosed, sexual acts with J.D.
Id. ¶ 8. School staff learned of this more
extensive misconduct on September 24, 2015. Pl.'s SOF
¶ 9. That day, staff contacted Doe to inform her that
J.D. had suffered more extensive molestation than initially
thought. Id. ¶ 10. Staff also told Doe that
League School had reported the molestation to the Department
of Children and Families. Defs.' SOF Ex. B
[“Pl.'s Suppl. Answers to Interrogatories”]
¶ 3 [#99-2].
receiving League School's call, Doe immediately traveled
to League School, where she met with Fuller and Donna
Griffin, another administrator. Id. Although Doe
requested full information about the extent of the
molestation, League School staff refused to tell her details
about A.B.'s molestation of J.D., citing A.B.'s
health information privacy rights. Pl.'s SOF ¶ 12.
Despite Doe's repeated requests for more information,
League School staff only informed Doe that “more
happened” than initially thought, but “there was
no anal penetration.” Id. ¶¶ 13, 16.
Doe describes staff members' responses to her inquires as
“callous.” Defs.' SOF Ex. C [“Pl.'s
Answers to League School's Interrogatories”] ¶
13 [#99-3]. After the meeting, Doe removed J.D. from League
School. Defs.' SOF Ex. D [“Jane Doe Dep.”]
suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder, Mood Disorder, and
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and was unable to inform Doe
of the molestation he experienced. Pl.'s SOF ¶ 18.
League School never informed Doe of the details of the more
extensive molestation revealed during Dr. Clark's
examination of A.B. Id. ¶ 14.
October 2015, Doe learned of the additional incidents from
the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
(“DCF”). Id. ¶ 15. These additional
incidents included A.B.'s claims of oral sex, sexual
touching, and other sexual acts occurring at League
School's residences “less than 20 times over a long
period of time.” Defs.' SOF ¶ 8; Pl.'s SOF
asserts that Defendants' refusal to inform her of the
full details of the molestation disclosed by Dr. Clark caused
her severe emotional distress. Id. ¶ 16. She
has stated that “[k]nowing the details as to how my son
was molested in a League School residence, with no one to
help him, creates an indelible picture in my mind and gives
me nightmares that never seem to end.” Pl.'s
Answers to League School's Interrogatories ¶ 10
[#99-3]. She says she suffers “emotional distress from
the realization that my son is scarred from abuse that never
should have happened to an 11-year old boy in a school where
he was supposed to be closely supervised.” Id.
Doe says she “will never recover from the impact of
sitting in a room with League School staff and being told
that ‘more sexual molestation happened than was
thought, ' only to have the staff members refuse to tell
me what had happened, citing the perpetrator's privacy
rights.” Id. She says she “spent weeks
suffering emotionally from not knowing what had occurred,
only to have that distress later increase when [she] finally
learned through DCF about the full scope and frequency of
molestation that had happened to [her] son.”
intentional infliction of emotional distress claim requires a
plaintiff to prove that “(1) the defendant intended to
cause, or should have known that his conduct would cause,
emotional distress; (2) the defendant's conduct was
extreme and outrageous; (3) the defendant's conduct
caused the plaintiff's distress; and (4) the plaintiff
suffered severe distress.” Sena v.
Commonwealth, 629 N.E.2d 986, 994 (Mass. 1994). Based on
her Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment [#111], Doe hinges her claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress on League
School's refusal to tell her further details it had
learned about A.B.'s molestation of J.D. from Dr.
Clark's report, which Doe claims caused her to speculate
for weeks about the potential molestation J.D. had endured.
argue that the evidence does not show any “extreme and
outrageous” conduct by Defendants. To constitute
extreme and outrageous conduct, conduct must be “so
outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go
beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as
atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized
community.” Foley v. Polaroid Corp., 508
N.E.2d 72, 82 (Mass. 1987) (internal quotations and citations
omitted). Doe responds that League School staff members were
“callous” in refusing to provide further details
about A.B.'s conduct toward J.D. ...