CHESHIRE — Attorneys for Cheshire Academy are asking a Superior Court judge to issue a protective order against a family suing the school over their son’s expulsion in March, according to recent legal filings.
In the suit, West Hartford residents Theodore and Sonia Mancini claim Cheshire Academy officials expelled their son, Michael Mancini, for expressing conservative and politically incorrect views. The couple is seeking their son’s reinstatement to the prestigious private school and monetary damages.
In a motion filed in Hartford Superior Court on July 10, attorney Brendan N. Gooley, representing Cheshire Academy, asked the court to enforce a stay of discovery while the school’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit is pending. The motion to dismiss was filed last month.
Last week’s motion claims the Mancinis have been contacting current Cheshire Academy students to obtain information for their case. The motion includes screenshots of purported text messages sent by the couple to students asking them to speak with their attorney James F. Sullivan.
“This is improper, and is causing further interference with Cheshire Academy’s relationship with its students and apprehension amongst members of the Cheshire Academy community,” Gooley wrote.
‘This isn’t discovery’
Sullivan said the motion for a protective order “has no merit whatsoever” and “smacks of arrogance.”
“It shows how one-sided the school is generally speaking,” Sullivan said on Monday. “Basically the message is the school has been building its case while the plaintiffs cannot. There’s no rule that the plaintiffs cannot communicate with the students.”
Sullivan said his clients’ attempt to reach out to students does not constitute discovery as it is legally defined.
“This isn’t discovery. That’s when you send out an interrogatory request,” Sullivan said. “There were no interrogatory requests.”
Sullivan said he would be filing an objection to the defendants’ motion later this week.
Cheshire Academy officials emailed a written statement last week on the latest motion.
"Regarding the Academy's filing of a protective order, the school's account is in the public record,” the statement read. “As this is related to pending litigation and involves minors, we don't want to comment beyond what we have already been forced to share via court documents.”
Michael Mancini, a sophomore, was expelled from Cheshire Academy on March 7. A day earlier, his parents launched a website, TheRealCheshireAcademy.com, which chronicled the events that led to their son’s expulsion. The website, which is still active, also accuses Cheshire Academy officials of trying to indoctrinate students with liberal views and claims school officials are intolerant of conservative political views.