Telegram: Judge dismisses multiple counts in Fay wifi suit; charges proceed on alleged retaliation

by beth on October 4, 2017

[Editor’s Note: Fay School is a sponsoring advertiser on MySouthborough.]

The Worcester Telegram reports on a federal judge’s decisions on a lawsuit against Fay School that has made headlines around the country. The suit alleged that Fay School failed to work around a student’s problems when the institution’s wifi made him sick. 

The student was diagnosed as having Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome. The validity of EHS and causation by wifi has been controversial and widely debated. (Thus, the national headlines.)

Rulings this week didn’t advance that cause. According to the telegram, the judge threw out charges and a witness directly related to blaming the school’s wifi for the boy’s medical issues.

In dismissing other charges that Fay breached contract by violating policies in the school handbook, the judge ruled that the handbook doesn’t constitute a contract.

It’s not all good news for Fay. The charge still standing alleges retaliation against the 12 year old and his family over the disability claim.

Those accusations were detailed in a Q&A with the student’s mother on the blog last year to which Fay School declined to comment. Last week, U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Hillman indicated school officials may have no defense for some of their actions. (Of course, those ultimate findings won’t likely be of interest to national news media.)

Here are highlights from the story. [Note, because the student is a minor, he is referred to in public documents only as “G”]:

“There is sufficient circumstantial evidence for a reasonable jury to find that something at the Fay School was impacting G, and this might be Wi-Fi, but it is impossible to conclude that the evidence on the record would allow a reasonable jury to find that a causal link has been proved without ‘unsupported speculation’ or ‘brash conjecture.’” Judge Hillman wrote in granting the defense’s motion for summary judgment against G and his family’s claim that the school was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for failing to accommodate the boy’s condition. . .

He did find, however, there may be evidence the Fay School retaliated against G, violating the ADA, in reaction to his family raising a disability claim over the boy’s deteriorated health. Specifically, the plaintiffs’ claims the school prevented G from participating in school sports and omitted his brother from its 8th grade program were not convincingly rebutted by the school, according to Judge Hillman.

“Having failed to assert any non-retaliatory rationale for” those actions, he wrote, “the court is left to assume that the defendants have no defense.” . . .

John Markham, the attorney representing G in the case, on Tuesday said he and his clients would be reviewing the judge’s decision and “studying (their) options” in the coming days.

Click here for the full article.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Butler October 4, 2017 at 2:58 PM

It is a shame that Fay and this child have been victimized by the blatantly fraudulent wifi claims of these parents. Fay wastes huge money defending against nothing, and the child fears harm, in every restaurant, classroom and home, but there is none. The courts cannot be depended upon to always handle bogus science correctly, but it appears that in this case this court has done so.

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2 G. Manley Hopkins October 5, 2017 at 1:13 PM

France, Belgium, Germany and many other countries in Europe have been arguing (and litigating) about wi-fi in schools since at least 2011. Israel has another ongoing discussion, and the mayor of Haifa pulled wi-fi out of nurseries and elementary schools at one point. So there’s a lot of back and forth in this issue. I”m not taking one side or another, but there is a debate in industrialized nations about it. Just saying.

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3 Ben H. October 6, 2017 at 9:24 PM

Easy solution- tin foil hats.

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