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Superior Court Affirms That Parents Who Complain to Public Schools About Staff Have Limited Immunity From Suit

Sidney v. Spader

A Connecticut Superior court issued a ruling in the case of Sidney v. Spader, entering summary judgment in favor of parents who were sued after asking a public high school to investigate concerns about a coach. A high school teacher, and coach, was not given a coaching position for the following year, after the school administration investigated concerns raised by several parents about some coaching practices. The plaintiff, Mr. Sidney, sued two of the parents claiming tortious interference with business relations. In a case of first impression, the Court ruled that "individuals who express dissatisfaction to school officials regarding the conduct of teachers and principals are shielded from liability under the Noerr Pennington doctrine so long as the petition is not a sham." The court further ruled that the complaints in this case did not constitute a sham because the school took disciplinary action based on its investigation of the complaint. Therefore, the complaints were not objectively baseless and the alleged motives of the parents were not relevant. Hence, the court granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment.

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