A Suffolk County court judge dismissed a lawsuit in which a student who’s a billionaire’s son alleged an East Hampton private school’s teachers bullied him, forcing the student to switch schools.
Judge William Condon granted on December 7 a motion to dismiss filed by attorneys for the defendants, the nonprofit Ross School. Stefan Soloviev, one of America’s top 100 landowners, and his son, Hayden, had sued in March seeking $10 million in damages from the school for negligence, breach of duty and emotional distress, among other claims stemming from a class trip to Patagonia, the sparsely populated tip of South America in March 2020, during which teachers gave students alcohol.
“The teacher reassigned an Instagram account of the trip due to plaintiff not doing what he was asked for the project,” Condon wrote in his ruling. “Also, the plaintiff claims he has ‘suffering that knows no boundaries’ and have ‘prevented him from obtaining the full enjoyment of life’ due to watching others drink a thimbleful of celebratory local whiskey upon climbing a glacier …. The plaintiff has not shown that any of these allegations hold any weight to create a cause of action on this matter.”
Hayden, who was in the 11th grade at the time, claimed that he felt so uncomfortable with the teachers’ conduct that he returned home early and reported the incident to the administration, which refused to disclose the outcome of its investigation, the lawsuit alleged. The student felt so ostracized that he transferred to public school.
“We are very happy with the court’s decision ,” Ross School director Charles Abelmann said in a statement. “We take our students’ safety very seriously, including how we operate the school and how we conduct our Field Academy program, which gives our students opportunities near and far.”
Glenn Spiegel, an attorney with the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff who represents the Solovievs, indicated that the case may not be over yet.
He said, “We believe that the court erred in its decision and we are exploring our options.”