A billionaire’s son is appealing a Suffolk County court judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit in which a student alleged an East Hampton private school’s teachers bullied him, forcing the teen to switch schools.
Attorneys for the family of student Hayden Soloviev argued in the appeal filed April 14 that Judge William Condon erroneously granted the Ross School’s motion to dismiss the case in December.
“The worst part was the teachers bullying Hayden,” said Glenn Spiegel, partner at the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, who represents the family and said if they win, the student would donate the money to an anti-bullying charity. “It still impacts him today. He doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
Stefan Soloviev, one of America’s top 100 landowners, and his son, Hayden, had sued in March 2021 seeking $10 million in damages from the nonprofit 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.
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.
“The plaintiff has not shown that any of these allegations hold any weight to create a cause of action on this matter,” Condon wrote in his ruling.
“We are surprised at the Solovievs’ decision to pursue an appeal, given the trial court’s well-reasoned opinion dismissing their complaint in its entirety,” said Daniel H. Weiner, partner at the law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, which represents the school. “This matter never should have been brought to court.