January 10, 2022 – Hughes Hubbard achieved complete victory on behalf of an East Hampton private school when a New York State judge dismissed a $10 million lawsuit brought against it by a billionaire NYC real estate developer and his 17-year-old son, who alleged the son was bullied by teachers during a field trip to South America in March 2020.

On Dec. 7, Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice William Condon granted HHR’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the Ross School, ruling that Hayden Soloviev and his father Stefan – the grandson and son, respectively, of recently deceased NYC real estate tycoon Sheldon Solow – had not “shown that any of these allegations hold any weight to create a cause of action on this matter.”

In March this year, the Solovievs filed suit against the school, its then-chief administrator and four faculty members for breach of trust and contract, unjust enrichment, negligent hiring and infliction of emotional distress, among other causes of action. They claimed that the school’s teachers distributed alcohol to students – minors at the time – at the end of a glacier hike on the trip and bullied Hayden after he objected. The filing also alleged that some of the chaperones threatened Hayden “without any justification” into giving up control of a school-approved Instagram account he’d set up to document the excursion. The suit, which sought $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages, alleged that Hayden – who ultimately left Ross for East Hampton High School and graduated in June – continues to endure “suffering that knows no boundaries.”

Justice Condon ruled, however, that “there were no claims of physical abuse, contact or unwanted approaches of any kind but rather a few frustrated words from a teacher who was chaperoning the trip,” adding that “the teacher reassigned an Instagram account of the trip due to plaintiff not doing what he was asked for the project.” The court concluded that the suit had no merit, observing that Stefan Soloviev signed a release upon enrolling Hayden at the School, and that “all negligence claims against the school fall within the scope of the release concerning school activities off school property,” including the three-week trip in question.

Ross School was founded in 1991 by movie mogul Steven J. Ross and his wife Courtney Ross to foster innovative education.

The case garnered headlines in the New York Post, Newsday, Patch.com, the East Hampton Star and other news outlets.

Dan Weiner led the HHR team, which also included Ed Little, Eric Blumenfeld and Raquel Gonoretzky.