NEW HAVEN, Conn. (Legal Newsline) – The Legion of Christ Inc., a Roman Catholic religious order, has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former student of an apostolic school who alleged he was sexually abused.
The motion was filed Dec. 11 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
The plaintiff's amended complaint was filed Nov. 13, over allegations of negligence, infliction of emotional distress and other counts.
The plaintiff alleged that he was abused more than 30 years ago by an employee at Immaculate Conception Apostolic School, which is a New Hampshire private school.
ICAS is described in the complaint as a private boarding school that prepares boys in grades seven to 12 to be priests in the Legion of Christ.
The plaintiff is identified as John Doe and described as a 46-year-old man who lives in California.
According to the motion to dismiss, the man initially sued ICAS and the Legion of Christ Inc., but then dropped the accusations against ICAS.
“Plaintiff curiously dropped his claims against ICAS, where the abuse supposedly occurred, and now is suing only LOC, an entity with a place of business in Connecticut and with whom plaintiff had no relationship,” the motion to dismiss states.
The plaintiff allegedly reported the abuse to a priest during confession in 1987 and believed that the priest should have passed the information to the LOC, the motion states.
The plaintiff also stated that LOC should be held liable because it administered, operated and controlled ICAS.
The defendant believes the man’s allegations against LOC are not viable according to New Hampshire Law.
“Without supporting facts and with allegations made only ‘on information and belief,’ plaintiff claims that ICAS is one of LOC’s ‘subordinate programs’ and that LOC ‘administered, operated and controlled’ ICAS,” the motion said. “Because ICAS and LOC are separately incorporated entities, these unsupported allegations are insufficient to create liability.”
LOC's motion to dismiss added that it’s unclear what the man means by “subordinate programs,” but it can’t mean “LOC owns ICAS” since ICAS doesn’t have any stock.
The plaintiff can’t “magically blend ICAS and LOC together to make LOC liable for ICAS’s alleged wrongdoing,” the motion states.
The plaintiff also tried to prove his “control” theory by telling the court that decisions about ICAS were made from LOC’s headquarters in Connecticut, the defendant wrote in the motion to dismiss.
Even if people who acted on ICAS’s behalf were associated with LOC, the defendant said this doesn’t mean the corporations are responsible for each other.
“Fundamentally, plaintiff’s allegation of 'control' fails to grasp that corporations like ICAS and LOC act through people,” the defendant said. “ICAS had a board of directors which is responsible for overseeing ICAS’s operations and staff...”
The motion to dismiss added that Doe and LOC didn’t have a “special relationship” that required LOC to protect the plaintiff.
“Under New Hampshire law, a person does not have a duty to aid or protect another,” the defendant said. “A duty only arises if there is a special relationship.”
Because the plaintiff never said he attended school at LOC, the defendant believes there is no kind of relationship that requires LOC to protect the plaintiff.
“Having seen LOC’s first motion to dismiss, plaintiff tried to replead and amend his complaint to cure its fatal defects,” the motion states. “He has not and cannot do so. Accordingly, having now pled twice unsuccessfully, his amended complaint should be dismissed with prejudice.”