Lawyers struggle over gaining records in case filed by family of child with autism

Bennington, VT. — Lawyers of the school district whose personnel were accused of abusing a child with autism in Vermont, want the personal records of the employees involved in the case, kept from the public.

Lawyers from the firm representing the Bennington School District filed a motion for order of protection of personnel records, citing that they fear that the plaintiff may have intentions of exposing the records to the Bennington Banner, a local newspaper in Vermont.

The plaintiff, Joan Reilly, filed charges against the school district in the Vermont Superior Court Bennington Civil Unit for allegedly mistreating her 10-year-old child, Nathan, who has autism. The charges were filed after Nathan’s aunt, Jean Pinsonneault, planted an audio recorder in his backpack in an attempt to find out why her nephew had started exhibiting behavioral problems at school.

The recording gave her the answers she sought as it allegedly picked up school personnel calling Nathan “a dumbass kid with autism”, and asking him to clean up his urine from the floor.

Attorney John H. Kletsch of the firm Sitzel, Page, and Fletcher, P.C. which represents the school district wrote in his motion that :

“Personnel records are entitled to special privacy considerations in the context of civil litigations,”

But lawyers representing Reilly strongly disagree. According to lawyer Patrick Winburn;

“Without seeing them, the Plaintiff does not know what is in them but obviously it must be bad for the Defendants or they would not refuse to produce them.”

Vermont Superior Court Bennington Civil Unit is yet to decide on the defendants’ motion.

The original article by Keith Whitcomb the The Berkshire Eagle can be read here