For immediate release, February 11, 2016
Last week, Philadelphi law firm Laffey, Bucci & Kent filed a civil lawsuit against Germantown Academy for assault and abuse of a student and member of its elite swim team. The Complaint, John Doe v. Germantown Academy (Case ID: 160201029), was filed in Philadelphia on February 5 and alleges serious acts of abuse and assault within the swim team.
Germantown Academy is a private K-12 school located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, in Fort Washington, Montgomery County. It is one of the Philadelphia’s oldest and most prestigious private schools.
The school has been the subject of a recent scandal involving the swim team. The team’s head coach Richard Shoulberg retired from Germantown Academy earlier this month. In 2013, he stepped down from his role as head coach amid allegations of hazing and assaults within the team. He remained employed by the school until his retirement.
Doe v. Germantown Academy (Civil Lawsuit)
The recent civil lawsuit against Germantown Academy alleges that while on the swim team, Doe was repeatedly subjected to physical abuse including being assaulted, urinated on and was severely tormented by another student on the swim team. That student faced criminal charges and pled guilty.
The lawsuit seeks compensation from Germantown Academy, alleging that Doe suffered severe abuse because school administrators failed to take action to prevent the abuse and protect Doe. The lawsuit alleges that swim team staff knew about the abusive conduct and failed to take action. If these allegations are proved and substantiated, they would form the basis for the school’s liability under Pennsylvania law.
Pennsylvania Law – School Liability for Assaults and Abuse
In Pennsylvania, schools including private elementary, middle and high schools, may be held liable for negligence in dealing with on-campus or school-related abuse, assault, hazing, etc. The key is whether school employees had knowledge of the acts and failed to take corrective action, such as:
- contacting law enforcement,
- conducting an internal investigation,
- removing staff,
- training staff, and
- implementing appropriate reporting policies and procedures.
Students who are subjected to assaults and abuse in educational institutions, such as Germantown Academy, may receive financial compensation for their injuries and pain and suffering.
Doe v. Germantown Academy Lawsuit, Case Status
- Filing Date: February 5th, 2016
- Court: MAJOR JURY
- Location: Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia, City Hall
- Jury: Jury Trial Requested
- Status: Waiting to List Case Management Conference
This lawsuit has received media coverage from Philly.com and Swimmingworldmagazine.com.
Germantown Academy Lawsuit – Law Firm Contact Information
Laffey, Bucci & Kent, Super Lawyers Rated*
Attorneys: Jeff Laffey, Brian Kent, Sam Reich
1435 Walnut Street, Suite 700
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Office Locations: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware
*Laffey, Bucci & Kent lawyers have been rated as “Top Rated Personal Injury – Plaintiff Attorney in Philadelphia, PA” by Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters.