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Clover school district officials have asked a judge to dismiss a pair of lawsuits alleging that district employees helped cover up hazing incidents in Clover High School’s football locker room last fall, according to federal court records.
The motions to dismiss say that lawsuits filed by families of two Clover High students should be thrown out because they don’t specify which constitutional rights the students claim were violated.
Moreover, the motions say, their claims “fail as a matter of law.”
Families of two Clover High students filed civil suits in U.S. District court in February alleging that after the teens were bullied, beaten and hazed by older players in an unsupervised locker room last fall, school employees helped the attackers cover up what happened.
The lawsuits name more than 20 defendants, including Superintendent Marc Sosne, all seven school board members, Clover High Principal Mark Hopkins, head football coach John Devine and several alleged student attackers.
They do not identify who was allegedly involved in covering up the incidents.
The families of the students – identified in court records by initials only – accuse the school district of gross negligence, civil conspiracy, violating the teens’ constitutional rights and the Safe Schools Climate Act, and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.
They’re also suing the students who allegedly attacked them for negligence, assault and battery.
The families are seeking a jury trial and say their children have suffered physical, emotional and psychological pain as well as fright, shock and “loss of enjoyment of life.”
Over the summer, school officials and at least two of the alleged attackers filed motions to dismiss the cases.
The school district is represented by Charlotte attorney Robert Rubin of the firm Cranfill Sumner and Hartzog.
Once all of the defendants have filed responses, the plaintiffs will have a chance to respond.
It’s not clear how long that will take. The case has been delayed since the S.C. Supreme Court suspended the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Richard Breibart, from practicing law in early June.
Supreme Court records don’t specify why Breibart was suspended, but they cite a rule that says an attorney can be suspended “Upon receipt of sufficient evidence demonstrating that a lawyer poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public or to the administration of justice.”
The court appointed Columbia lawyer Mark Barrow to “protect the interests” of Breibart’s clients.
Barrow couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
The cases stem from incidents last fall, when 13 players were suspended amid allegations that three players - ages 14, 15 and 17 - were hazed.
The incidents took place on three separate days in September at the end of the school day in the varsity football locker room before practice.
School officials asked the York County Sheriff’s Office to investigate rumors that during one instance a student was sexually assaulted with a broom.
On Nov. 3, after the investigation, York County Solicitor Kevin Brackett and Sheriff Bruce Bryant dismissed the allegations as mere “horse play.”
Sheriff’s investigation records later released to The Herald under the state’s open records law showed that the students were physically accosted at school, but it’s unclear exactly what happened.
The families of two of the victims – the 14-year-old and the 17-year-old – filed the lawsuits.