Attorney for Middletown, School Board moves to dismiss civil suit

MIDDLETOWN — An attorney representing the Department of Education and the city in a civil lawsuit filed by Enza Macri, the former assistant principal, alleging sexual harassment by former principal Michael Conner is asking the court to dismiss the case.

Macri, now superintendent of schools in Cromwell, filed the lawsuit in June in Connecticut’s U.S. District Court against Conner “in his individual capacity,” as well as against the Board of Education and the city of Middletown.

Conner, who had been on leave since fall 2021, resigned in March.

Last month, an amendment to a federal lawsuit filed by Macri alleges anonymous statements sent to the Board of Education show Conner may have molested other women.

Attorney Michael Rose, director of Rose Kallor LLP in Hartford, represents both the city and the school board. Macri’s attorney is Nina Pirrotti, a partner at Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, PC in New Haven.

Macri alleges in court documents that she was repeatedly molested by Conner, who once forcefully kissed her, but that the board and education officials, aware of the allegations, did nothing for months.

Rose’s 32-page application lists eight reasons for termination. Among them are that Macri’s lawsuit against the city “makes no claim” for failing to provide “well-founded, factual allegations” that her “place of work” or employer is the city, Rose wrote, or “a special duty of the city.” “. for them or city employment or supervision of their molester.”

Middletown is not liable under Title IX “because it is not a recipient of federal funds for education, a necessary requirement for liability,” Rose said in his filing.

Macri’s liability allegations against the school board for a breach of equal protections are insufficient, Rose said in court filings, because she alleges that the school board and the city have “higher liability” for the actions of their alleged molester Conner under the guise that he is a “last.” policy maker”.

According to the American Bar Association, the Apex Deposition Doctrine allows courts to issue a protective order “preventing the deposition of a senior corporate employee.”

“In general, in order to exercise the apex deposition doctrine,” states the Bar Association’s website, “the party resisting deposition must demonstrate that the witness did not have unique first-hand knowledge of the facts at issue.” and other less incisive means of discovery have not yet been exhausted.”

Rose also wrote that Macri’s punitive damages claim “is not feasible because municipal entities are not liable for punitive damages under Title IX,” the court filings said.

Damage from emotional stress is not available, Rose wrote, and “the damage allegedly sustained … is emotional in nature.”

Rose also denies that Macri and Conner were colleagues “at every workplace in the city of Middletown.” Rather, he claims the “workplace” was at the school district headquarters. “These legal claims are simply unworthy of any presumption of truth or accuracy,” the attorney wrote.

Macri Tuesday filed a motion to extend the case by 25 days to give her ample time to respond to the dismissal motion. She is asking the court for permission to do so by January 31.

In the application, Pirrotti referred to the upcoming holidays and her own vacation plan. “The additional time is needed to fully and comprehensively respond to the defendants’ lengthy and extensive application,” the court documents said.

Such a request is routine in such matters, Pirrotti said on Thursday. “A motion to dismiss is a common procedural tool used by defendants in litigation. The fact that it was raised does not affect its chances of success.

“In fact, we are confident that Dr. Macri’s case will go before a jury and she will prevail,” added Pirrotti.

Rose declined to comment. Attorney Renee Dwyer, a partner at Conway Stoughton in Hartford whom Conner hired on the case, did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Lisa Backus contributed to this article.