Telegram: Fay wifi case ended on a “moot” point

by beth on June 12, 2018

[Editor’s Note: Full disclosure – Fay School is a MySouthborough sponsor.]

A lawsuit against a Southborough school that made National headlines came to a seeming end – unless an appeal is filed.

According to the Telegram, the District Court Judge in the Fay School Wifi case ruled in the private school’s favor. It appears that the ruling was based on the fact that as the lawsuit dragged on, the boy whose family was suing is aging out of the school. 

No public determination was shared on whether or not the administration and staff improperly retaliated against the student and family.

The lawsuit was filed in 2015, claiming that the school’s wifi signals made a 12 year old student sick. The student “G” was diagnosed by a doctor as suffering from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome. The case made national headlines due to the controversial nature of EHS and the potentially precedent-setting lawsuit.

Last fall, the judge had ruled that the school had done enough to try to accommodate the student. But the suit continued based on claims that the school had retaliated against G and his family because of their complaint.

At that time, the Telegram posted that the Judge found there were grounds to consider the claim:

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 [Timothy S.] 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.”

Yesterday, the Telegram posted that court ruled in the school’s favor on Friday. But it wasn’t based on new/better defense against retaliation. Instead, it was based on the family’s desired outcome being viewed as moot:

Key to the Judge’s decision was the fact the family. . . were seeking injunctive relief on that claim, with the hope that the boy, who left the Fay School a year ago, could return there next year to retake the ninth grade. Judge Hillman said such a scenario would be unlikely, given the student is already enrolled in the ninth grade at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury this year, and that Fay School’s lawyers said there is no precedent for re-enrolling a high school student to complete what is supposed to be a ninth grade cap year at the middle school.

“I find that there is no reasonable anticipation that G will again be a student at the Fay School and the retaliation claim seeking injunctive relief is moot,” he wrote in the order.

That decision, along with Judge Hillman’s accompanying decision to reject the family’s motion for reconsideration of his previous ruling, effectively ends the family’s lawsuit, barring an appeal.

You can read the full story here. You can read more background on the case here.

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