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Tort Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

by Mazur, Catherine

 

SC19525 - Munn v. Hotchkiss School (Negligence; "The issues in this case, which comes to us on certification from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit pursuant to General Statutes § 51-199b (d), are: (1) Does Connecticut public policy support imposing a duty on a school to warn about or protect against the risk of a serious insect-borne disease when it organizes a trip abroad? (2) If so, does a damages award of approximately $41.5 million, $31.5 million of which are noneconomic damages, warrant a remittitur? We answer the first question in the affirmative and the second question in the negative.")

AC39204 - Costa v. Board of Education (Negligence; "The plaintiffs, Ricky E. Costa, who suffered serious injury to his right eye during a pick-up basketball game at a Plainville High School senior class picnic, and his mother, Maria Costa, appeal from the summary judgment rendered on all counts in favor of the defendants, the town of Plainville (town), the town's Board of Education (board), and Steven LePage, Plainville High School's principal. The plaintiffs claim that the court improperly rendered summary judgment on the basis of governmental immunity. The plaintiffs contend that the evidence presented raised a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether discretionary act immunity applied and whether Ricky Costa was an identifiable person for purposes of the identifiable person-imminent harm exception to governmental immunity. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38721 - Washburne v. Madison (Negligence; "The plaintiff, Jennifer Washburne, who brought the underlying action on behalf of her minor son, the plaintiff Benjamin Washburne (Benjamin), and herself individually, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants—the town of Madison (town); the town's Board of Education (board); Kelly Spooner, the principal of Ryerson Elementary School (Ryerson Elementary); and Erik Delehanty, a substitute physical education teacher—on the ground that the action was barred by governmental immunity. According to the complaint, Benjamin's leg was broken when he was kicked in the shin or ankle by another student while playing soccer at school. The incident occurred during a physical education class at Ryerson Elementary that Delehanty was supervising. The defendants did not provide Benjamin or the other children with shin guards, and Benjamin was not wearing shin guards at the time he was injured, which the plaintiff alleged violated existing school policies and resulted in Benjamin's injuries.

"The plaintiff claims on appeal that the court improperly rendered summary judgment as a matter of law despite the existence of genuine issues of material fact regarding (1) whether safety guidelines in a curriculum guide, which provided that students playing soccer should 'wear shin guards for additional protection,' imposed a ministerial duty on the defendants to require the use of shin guards by students, and (2) whether, even if such a duty was discretionary, Benjamin had been subject to imminent harm and, thus, an exception to governmental immunity was applicable. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")