AP NEWS

Judge rebuffs Milford’s request in prom date killing lawsuit

February 19, 2019

DERBY — The judge overseeing the lawsuit filed by the family of slain Milford high school student, Maren Sanchez, shut down an argument from the city calling on him to rethink a prior ruling in which he declined to throw the case out.

Last month the city asked Judge Barry Stevens to reconsider his decision denying its motion for summary judgment in the case in light of a recently decided state Supreme Court case.

But from the outset during a 15-minute hearing Tuesday in Superior Court, the judge made it clear to the city’s lawyer, James Tallberg, that he probably wasn’t going to find the argument compelling.

“I really don’t understand your motion at all,” the judge told Tallberg at the beginning of the hearing.

In a memo filed with the court, Tallberg had argued that a Supreme Court decision in the case of Ventura v. East Haven meant the judge should take a new look at a decision in which he had declined to throw out the lawsuit.

But the judge didn’t buy the argument during Tuesday’s hearing.

“Ventura is entirely inapplicable,” the judge said.

Sanchez was stabbed to death by classmate Christopher Plaskon in April 2014 at Jonathan Law High School after she rebuffed his invitation to the prom.

The lawsuit says that in November 2013, Sanchez reported to the high school guidance department that Plaskon was emotionally disturbed and threatening to commit suicide or acts of serious self-harm with a knife, and she believed it was important for high school personnel to prevent him from engaging in potentially violent conduct.

The lawsuit, filed by Sanchez’s mother, says school officials should have prevented her daughter’s death.

A trial in the case is tentatively scheduled for next May.

This story will be updated.

ethan.fry@hearstmediact.com