United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION IN LIMINE AND LEAVE TO ADD
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Doe (“Plaintiff”) has sued The Hotchkiss School
(“Hotchkiss” or “Defendant”) for,
among other things, negligence and fraudulent concealment of
severe sexual abuse.
seeks to prohibit Anthony Charuvastra MD (“Dr.
Charuvastra”) from testifying as an expert at trial.
Doe, in turn, seeks leave to allow Charol Shakeshaft, Ph.D.
(“Dr. Shakeshaft”) to testify as an expert at
reasons that follow, the Court DENIES
Hotchkiss' motion to prohibit Dr. Charuvastra from
testifying as an expert at trial without prejudice to renewal
at trial. The Court also DENIES Mr.
Doe's motion for leave to add Dr. Shakeshaft as an expert
witness at trial without prejudice to Mr. Doe calling Dr.
Shakeshaft as a rebuttal witness, after Hotchkiss presents
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
February 5, 2015, Mr. Doe filed his Complaint, alleging that
when Mr. Doe enrolled at Hotchkiss at fourteen he
“entered an environment of well-known and tolerated
sexual assaults, sexually violent hazing, and
pedophilia.” ECF No. 1. He alleges that upper classmen,
“including school-appointed senior dormitory proctors,
” assaulted him on multiple occasions. Id. He
further alleges that a teacher sexually abused, drugged, and
raped him. Id.
Mr. Doe allegedly attended the school, “The Hotchkiss
School charged many thousands of dollars per year for the
privilege of attending the school and residing in a dormitory
on school grounds” where “Hotchkiss assumed
responsibility form, among other things, students'
protection, safety and well-being.” Id. at
¶¶ 9, 10. The school allegedly “accepted a
duty to John and to other minor children in its care and
custody to do everything within its power to protect them
from sexual abuse by other students and by the school's
faculty, ” even while “the school and
administrators knew that there was a history and tradition at
the school of older male students . . . subjecting younger
students to sexual hazing.” Id. at
¶¶ 12, 14.
was allegedly “not disclosed to John at any time prior
to his arrival at the school, ” and the “school
and its teachers and administrators permitted and condoned
the tradition of hazing, and they allowed sexual assaults to
occur without punishment and without even a meaningful threat
of punishment.” Id. at ¶¶ 15, 16.
Complaint further alleges several sexual assaults by other
students and a muted response by faculty and staff.
Id. at ¶¶ 17-24. Then, the Complaint
details sexual assault allegations against a teacher and
dormitory master that Mr. Doe alleges Hotchkiss knew or
should have known about. Id. at ¶¶ 25-45.
Mr. Doe alleges that “the school created a situation
that it knew and should have known was likely to be dangerous
to John and to other young children in its care, ” but
“the school refused to take appropriate precautions
against the risk of harm.” Id. at ¶¶
allegedly suffering sexual abuse at the hands of other
students and a teacher, Mr. Doe allegedly reported the
incidents to teachers, staff, and administrators that
“took no steps to protect John and other vulnerable
children from further assaults.” Id. at
¶¶ 49-57. Mr. Doe alleges that the trauma suffered
at Hotchkiss School limits his “ability to engage in
normal . . . activities, ” “has adversely
affected his ability to enter into and maintain lasting
meaningful relationships, ” irreparably damaged his
“ability to maintain intimate physical, sexual and
emotional relationships, ” and caused “physical
pain and suffering, ” Id. at
January 20, 2017, Plaintiff designated Dr. Anthony
Charuvastra and served his report to Hotchkiss. See
Forensic Psychiatric Evaluation Report, Ex. A (“Ex.
A.”), ECF No. 212-1. Mr. Doe, through a referral by his
former attorney Arick Fudall, requested a consultation by Dr.
Charuvastra. Ex. A, at 2. To prepare for Mr. Doe's
interview, Dr. Charuvastra reviewed the Complaint filed
February 5, 2015, John Doe's medical records from
Hotchkiss School, John Doe's school records from 1985-87,
and a transcript of John Doe's November 18, 2016
deposition. Id. at 1. On January 8, 2017, Dr.
Charuvastra conducted an interview of John Doe. Id.
January 20, 2017, Dr. Charuvastra finalized a report that
included a mental status exam, an overview of Mr. Doe's
medical and social history, a narrative history of Mr.
Doe's psychiatric symptoms, Mr. Doe's post-traumatic
stress disorder test results, Mr. Doe's case and
diagnostic summaries, and treatment recommendations. See
generally Id. Dr. Charuvastra concluded that “the
cause of [Mr. Doe's] PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder] is the abuse and assault that he endured while at
Hotchkiss.” Id. at 11. Dr. Charuvastra based
this conclusion on the consistency of his accounts between
the deposition and Dr. Charuvastra's interview, Mr.
Doe's lack of traumatic history, and the onset of Mr.
Doe's chronic symptoms while at Hotchkiss. Id.
Dr. Charuvastra concluded that Mr. Doe's subjective
description and clinical presentation in the interview were
consistent with “actual PTSD related to sexual assault
an abuse that occurred during his adolescence.”
Id. at 12.
Shakeshaft's Proposed Expert Testimony
to the Court's Scheduling Order, Mr. Doe needed to
designate his experts on or before January 20, 2017. ECF No.
54. After Mr. Doe retained his current counsel, the parties
jointly moved for a modified scheduling order. Joint Proposed
Scheduling Order, ECF No. 142. The parties, however,
disagreed about whether Mr. Doe should be allowed to disclose
new experts. See Id. at 1-2. The Court concluded
that “Mr. Doe has not shown sufficient compelling cause
to justify granting leave to designate additional experts
after the deadline for such disclosures” and chose not
to give more time for Mr. Doe to show expert testimony.
Scheduling Order, ECF No. 144.
the Court issued the scheduling order, Hotchkiss released a
report detailing rampant sexual abuse during the 1970s and
1980s by multiple former faculty members. Report to Board of
Trustees of the Hotchkiss School, Exhibit G (“Ex.
G”), ECF No. 228-1. The internal report concluded that
Hotchkiss missed “key opportunities to protect the
student body.” Id. at 26.
publication of the internal investigation, Mr. Doe's
counsel commissioned a report by Dr. Shakeshaft. Memorandum
of Law in Support of Plaintiff's Mot. for Leave to Add an
Expert to Testify, ECF No. 228-1, at 5. Dr. Shakeshaft, an
educational institution researcher and former chair of the
Educational Leadership Department at Virginia Commonwealth
University, has co-authored a four-year study on sexual abuse
at schools, and is “noted for her studies on sexual
abuse of students by school staff.” Id. To
prepare her report, Dr. Shakeshaft reviewed the Complaint,
deposition transcript, and dozens of documents related to the
case. Report Doe v. The Hotchkiss School, Exhibit C
(“Ex. C”), ECF No. 228-5, at 2-3.
Shakeshaft determined that Hotchkiss had no documented
policies to prevent peer-to-peer sexual abuse or sexual abuse
by teachers, administrators, employees, volunteers, or
visitors. Ex. C, at 35. To prevent peer-to-peer sexual abuse,
Dr. Shakeshaft suggested that Hotchkiss should have
instituted policies concerning bullying, hazing, and
intimidation in the student code of conduct. Id.
Although Hotchkiss changed the student handbook for the
1986-87 school year to impose disciplinary action for hazing,
bullying, or baiting, Dr. Shakeshaft found those policies to
be unenforced. Id. She concluded that enforcing the
student conduct provisions would have reduced the health risk
to students. For adults, Hotchkiss should have followed the
State of Connecticut's mandatory reporting laws for
educators, laws in place since 1967, which would have
included training on sexual abuse and systems of
investigation, grievances, and consequences for adults.
Shakeshaft further opined that Hotchkiss gave no training to
employees, parents, or students about proper boundaries or
mandatory reporting. Id. at 39. This lack of
training included: no training on ethical issues with
students; no training for employees in the athletic
departments on appropriate touching; no training on sexual
boundaries with students or reporting; and no training on
bullying, hazing, or intimidation. Id. Dr.
Shakeshaft concluded that training in those areas could have
lowered potential risks to students.
Shakeshaft also opined that Hotchkiss made no effort to
report possible sexual misconduct to law enforcement or child
services. Id. at 43. Moreover, Hotchkiss did not
make efforts to record or investigate allegations of sexual
abuse, which put students at a significantly increased risk
of further abuse. Id.
Dr. Shakeshaft did not find a system for supervising faculty
or increased supervision when faculty, administration, or
students observed suspicious activity. Id. at 45.
She concluded that any response by Hotchkiss could have
changed behaviors and reduced the risk of future sexual
abuse, id., and the lack of supervision in the dorms
increased the likelihood of peer-to-peer sexual abuse,
hazing, bullying, and intimidation. Id. at 46.
February 5, 2015, Mr. Doe filed a Complaint against Hotchkiss
for negligence, recklessness, negligent infliction of
emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional
distress, and breach of fiduciary duty. ECF No. 1.
April 10, 2015, the parties jointly filed a Rule 26(f)
Report. ECF No. 17.
18, 2015, the Court granted a stay until the Connecticut
Supreme Court resolved Doe v. The Hartford Roman Catholic
Diocesan Corporation. ECF No. 22. On July 2, 2015, the
Court lifted the Stay. ECF No. 25.
8, 2015, the parties jointly filed a supplemental Rule 26(f)
Report. ECF No. 26. On July 21, 2015, the Court approved an
amended report the same day. ECF Nos. 28, 29.
September 14, 2015, Hotchkiss answered the Complaint with
April 18, 2016, the Court granted Attorney Antonio
Ponvert's motion to withdraw as attorney for John Doe.
ECF Nos. 40, 41.
1, 2016, Hotchkiss moved to stay, which the Court denied. ECF
Nos. 47, 50.
15, 2016, the parties jointly filed a supplemental Rule 26(f)
Report. ECF No. 51. On July 27, 2016, the Court held a
telephonic status conference and issued a scheduling order
with modified deadlines. ECF Nos. 53, 54. The deadline
included a deadline for Plaintiff to designate experts and
provide any designated experts' report by January 20,
December 9, 2016, Hotchkiss moved to compel discovery
responses. ECF No. 57. On December 12, 2016, the Court denied
the motion to compel without prejudice to renewal if the
parties did not resolve the ...