Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the trial court’s judgment in favor of Plaintiff in this personal injury case, holding that that Appellate Court correctly determined that governmental immunity barred Plaintiff’s action. Plaintiff brought this action against the Town of East Haven seeking damages for injuries he received when he was struck by an unregistered vehicle driven by a third party. Plaintiff alleged that the accident would not have occurred had an East Haven police officer, who responded to an incident involving the third party shortly before Plaintiff was struck, properly directed that the third party’s vehicle be towed in accordance with police department tow rules. The jury rejected the Town’s claim of governmental immunity, concluding that the officer had a ministerial duty under the tow rules to have the third party’s vehicle towed. The Appellate Court reversed, concluding that the Town was immune from suit because its tow rules did not impose on the officer a clear ministerial duty to tow the third party’s vehicle. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the officer had no clear ministerial duty to tow the third party’s vehicle. View "Ventura v. Town of East Haven" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Commissioner of Transportation on the ground that Plaintiff’s personal injury action was barred by sovereign immunity, holding that the waiver of sovereign immunity under Conn. Gen. Stat. 13a-444, the state’s highway defect statute, extended to Plaintiff’s claim that the state police failed to close a bridge before a crew from the Department of Transportation could arrive to address an icy surface on that bridge. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the waiver of sovereign immunity under section 13a-144 extends to the actions of state employees other than those employed by the commissioner, but only to the extent those employees are performing duties related to highway maintenance and the plaintiff proves that a relationship exists between the commissioner and the state employee such that the commissioner can be found to have breached his statutory duty to keep highways, bridges, or sidewalks in repair; and (2) in this case, there was no evidence indicating that the requisite relationship existed between the commissioner and the state police, and therefore, the commissioner could not be held liable for the failure of the state police to close the bridge. View "Graham v. Commissioner of Transportation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court granting the motions to dismiss filed by Defendants, healthcare providers, on the ground that Plaintiffs failed to commence their action within the five-year repose period of Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-555, the wrongful death statute, holding that, under the facts of this case, the trial court improperly resolved disputed jurisdictional facts without providing Plaintiffs an opportunity either to engage in limited discovery or to present evidence in connection with their argument that the repose period had been tolled by the continuing course of conduct doctrine. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. View "Angersola v. Radiologic Associates of Middletown, P.C." on Justia Law

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In this workers’ compensation case, the Supreme Court held that Defendant-employer was collaterally estopped from challenging an employee’s eligibility for benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act (state act), Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-275 et seq., because of an earlier decision by a United States Department of Labor administrative law judge (ALJ) awarding benefits to the employee under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act), 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Compensation Review Board (Board) reversing the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner dismissing the claims for benefits under the state act filed by Plaintiff, the executor of the decedent’s estate and the decedent’s widow. The Court held that the Board properly determined that the employer in this case was collaterally estopped from relitigating the issue of causation under the state act because the record of the Longshore Act proceedings indicated that the ALJ employed the substantial factor standard that governed the proceedings under the state act. View "Filosi v. Electric Boat Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that there is no right to a jury trial in an action brought under Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-556, which waives sovereign immunity for claims arising from a state employee’s negligent operation of a state owned motor vehicle. Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to section 52-556 against the Department of Transportation and claimed the action to the jury trial list. Defendant filed a motion to strike the case from the jury trial list, arguing that section 52-556 creates a new cause of action, unknown at common law, such that the plaintiff has no right to a jury trial. The trial court granted Defendant’s motion and struck the action from the jury trial list. After a trial to the court, the court rendered judgment for Plaintiff, awarding him damages. Plaintiff appealed, challenging the trial court’s determination that section 52-556 does not afford him the right to a jury trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there is no right to a jury trial for an action brought under section 52-556. View "Smith v. Rudolph" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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At issue was the extent of an employer’s right to a credit against its obligation to pay workers’ compensation benefits for an injured employee who has recovered damages from a third-party tortfeasor that caused the employee’s injuries. Under an amendment to Conn. Stat. 31-293(a), even if the employer is owed more than is recovered in the third-party action, the employee retains one-third of the proceeds for her sole benefit. In dispute was whether the employer has a right to a setoff against its obligation to pay for post-judgment workers’ compensation benefits until those benefits exceed the one-third portion that the employee received from the proceeds of the third-party action. The Compensation Review Board affirmed the decision of the workers’ compensation commissioner that the defendant employer was entitled to a “moratorium,” or the credit afforded the employer against any later arising benefits in the amount of any proceeds the employee received in the third-party action. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the employee’s one-third portion is not subject to the moratorium because the application of the moratorium to the one-third reduction would conflict with and undermine the purpose of P.A. 11-205, which amended section 31-293(a). Moreover, the legislature intended for the employee alone to retain the benefit of the one-third reduction. View "Callaghan v. Car Parts International, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court finding that Defendants had trespassed on property that Plaintiff owned. When Plaintiff commenced this action alleging trespass Defendants claimed that Plaintiff could not establish its ownership or possessory interest in the property on which Defendants were building. The trial court ruled in favor of Plaintiff and issued a permanent mandatory injunction ordering Defendants to remove structures from Plaintiff’s property that were not authorized by the permits issued to Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s finding that Plaintiff owned the subject property, and (2) the scope of the trial court’s injunctive relief was not overly broad. View "FirstLight Hydro Generating Co. v. Stewart" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court, which reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to Defendants on the grounds that Plaintiff’s action was barred by governmental immunity as a matter of law. Plaintiff, administratrix of the estate of Elsie White, brought this action against Defendants, constables in the town of Westbrook, alleging that Defendants’ negligence was the proximate cause of White’s accidental drowning. The trial court granted summary judgment to Defendants. In reversing, the Appellate Court concluded that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendants’ conduct fell within the identifiable person, imminent harm exception to governmental immunity. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the Appellate Court erred in determining that a jury reasonably could find that White was an identifiable person subject to imminent harm for purposes of abrogating Defendants’ governmental immunity. View "Brooks v. Powers" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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At issue was whether the trial court erred in determining that Plaintiff proved the imminent harm to identifiable persons exception to the defense of governmental immunity with respect to injuries he sustained when other students ran with a pair of scissors in the auditorium of his school. Plaintiff filed suit against the City of New Haven, the Board of Education of the City of New Haven, and the Superintendent of New Haven Public Schools seeking damages for, inter alia, negligent supervision of students. The trial court found in favor of Plaintiff on his negligent supervision claim. The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the trial court, holding (1) Plaintiff failed to prove that Defendants’ conduct subjected an identifiable person to imminent harm; and (2) the trial court implicitly granted Defendants’ request to amend their answer to plead governmental immunity as a special defense. View "Martinez v. New Haven" on Justia Law

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A duty of confidentiality arises from the physician-patient relationship, and unauthorized disclosure of confidential information obtained in the course of that relationship for the purpose of treatment gives rise to a cause of action sounding in tort against the health care provider, unless the disclosure is otherwise allowed by law. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court entering judgment in favor of Defendant, Avery Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology, P.C., on Plaintiff’s claims of negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant on these counts because the court improperly concluded that Defendant, as a health care provider, owed Plaintiff no duty of confidentiality. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendant violated the duty of confidentiality under the facts of this case. View "Byrne v. Avery Center for Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury