With accusations of sexual misconduct against one of its professors dating back more than a decade getting widespread publicity, Central Connecticut State University turned to the powerhouse firm of Shipman & Goodwin to investigate.
The firm is more than 90 years old and has 170 attorneys in offices in Connecticut, New York and Washington, D.C. Its investigation, which is in its early stages, has already required Shipman & Goodwin attorneys to interview more than a dozen people and review thousands of documents.
The assignment puts the firm at the heart of a controversy that has the university under scrutiny for its handling of numerous sexual misconduct complaints by faculty and students against associate theater professor Joshua Perlstein, who is on paid administrative leave.
Critics say the university failed to follow proper protocol in reporting the allegations of sexual misconduct. Perlstein was only put on leave after the school’s student-run newspaper wrote an article detailing the allegations against him.
Several attorneys believe the school should brace for lawsuits from alleged victims.
CCSU appeared to make a good-faith gesture by bringing in Shipman & Goodwin to review complaints, among thousands of pages of documents.
The lead attorney handling the investigation is no legal novice. Lisa Banatoski Mehta, who specializes in labor employment and school law, brings 20 years of experience to the table. She is a partner who has handled hundreds of cases for private- and public-sector employees and agencies. Her practice covers employee relations, collective bargaining for municipal employers, and serving as counsel for employers in labor cases before courts and administrative agencies.
Banatoski Mehta’s law firm biography paints a picture of someone who has played an active role in the state’s legal community. It shows she received the Hartford Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty Award in 2012, which recognizes outstanding young attorneys.
Now 45 years old, Banatoski Mehta is a Burlington native who lives in Middlefield. She received her law degree from University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1998.