Motion asks for 'mean girls' term to be removed from lawsuit

December 3, 2018 Cranberry Local News


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JACKSON TWP — In a case of purported sexual assault allegations, physical torment and psychological trauma, one defendant has taken issue with the phrase “mean girls.”

The motion to strike “scandalous and impertinent matter” from a now high-profile Butler County lawsuit was filed Monday as part of a series of requests for dismissal from S. Michael Streib, who is representing minor defendant E.S. and her parents, Cris and Kimberly Salancy — one of five Zelienople families listed as defendants in the federal case.

The term “mean girls” was introduced in the lawsuit filed in October by Michael Flood Jr., his wife Alecia in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, claiming their minor son, identified as T.F., suffered as a result of false allegations of sexual assault.

The defense described the “mean girls” phrasing as “gratuitously insulting, immaterial, impertinent and scandalous,” while the term has been editorialized as a direct reference to the popular teenage movie “Mean Girls.” That movie portrays four high school girls' efforts to socially rise in high school by any means necessary.

Streib said the phrasing “reflects cruelly on the defendant's moral character.”

The request to strike the term was included in a motion Monday in which the Salancy family also asked to be dismissed from the case.

Streib argued on behalf of E.S. by stressing her “absolute privilege.” This privilege protects her communications with school and court personnel and prosecutors as they are related to other judicial matters: her alleged sexual assault.

Streib claims that absolute privilege protects her from analysis of the motive behind her assault report and all communications related to the “judicial proceedings.”

Additionally, Streib claims that E.S. cannot be held accountable for the consequences T.F. suffered from her alleged falsehoods — which are still protected to be free of speculation — since she did not bring any charges against him. Zelienople Borough Police Officers and Butler County Juvenile Probation were responsible for charges filed, the motion contends.

The last defense Streib gave for accusations against E.S. to be dropped is her status as a minor, which prevents her from being able to answer to the charges presented and transfers that responsibility to her parents.

In addition to representing their minor daughter, the Salancys are also accused of negligence in the lawsuit.

Streib wrote that parents have a duty to exercise reasonable care to supervise a minor child only when they know there is a need to exercise control and have the ability and opportunity to do so.

The motion to dismiss states “no parental liability exists without notice of a specific type of harmful conduct and an opportunity to interfere with it.”

Streib claims E.S.'s parents cannot be held accountable for her actions of possible carelessness or delinquency because they were never presented with an opportunity to act in a preventive manner.

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