Judge refuses to dismiss Milford prom date killer lawsuit
A Superior Court judge on Tuesday, Jan. 8, refused to throw out a lawsuit against the city and the Board of Education by the family of Maren Sanchez, who was stabbed to death by a classmate in April 2014 at Jonathan Law High School after she rebuffed his invitation to the prom.
In a 32-page decision, Judge Barry Stevens did not accept the argument by the city that Christopher Plaskon intended to kill Sanchez and that there were no actions the school system could have taken to prevent it.
“Sanchez’s report that Plaskon was exhibiting suicidal ideation was an indication of an emotional problem sufficient to trigger the mandatory procedure of the Suicide Prevention and Intervention Procedure,” the judge ruled in denying the city’s motion for summary judgment.
“The city took a very public position that it didn’t do anything wrong and couldn’t have prevented Maren Sanchez’s death,” said her mother’s lawyer, David Golub of Stamford. “It’s been ignoring the evidence and that’s what Judge Stevens said.”
Golub said the city had put settlement discussions in the case on hold until the judge’s decision came out. “Now we will see if they come back to the table,” he added.
Golub had earlier offered to settle the case with the city for $15 million.
Plaskon was sentenced on June 7, 2016, to 25 years in prison after he pleaded no contest to murder for stabbing 16-year-old Maren Sanchez to death on April 25, 2014, with a steak knife in the hallway of the high school.
A week later, Sanchez’s mother, Donna Cimarelli-Sanchez, filed suit in Superior Court here against the Plaskon family and the Board of Education seeking damages for her daughter’s death.
The Plaskon family later agreed to pay Cimarelli-Sanchez an undisclosed settlement, ending the lawsuit against them.
Sanchez was stabbed to death on the day of the Law High School junior prom.
Security video showed Plaskon arriving at school early that morning and wandering the hallways. When he met up with Sanchez, Plaskon followed her into a stairwell and, out of sight of the cameras, he stabbed her in the chest and neck.
The lawsuit states in November 2013, Maren Sanchez reported to the high school guidance department her concern that Plaskon was emotionally disturbed and was threatening to commit suicide or acts of serious self-harm with a knife, and that she believed it was important for high school personnel to to prevent him from engaging in potentially violent conduct dangerous to himself or to others.
Plaskon was absent from school for a week after Sanchez’s report about him to the school guidance counselor, then returned to school and continued to engage in self-destructive behavior, including cutting himself with a knife, and began bringing a knife to school with him, the suit states.
Plaskon’s guidance counselor failed to advise the principal, school security or others in the school administration or the state Department of Children and Families of Sanchez’s report, in violation of mandatory school policies and state law, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit further alleges Plaskon’s parents were aware that their son was engaging in self-destructive conduct with knives that was potentially dangerous to himself and others and failed to obtain proper medical treatment for him, nor did they try to prevent him from having access to knives.