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Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Booth, George


SC20498 - Daley v. Kashmanian (Torts; General Statutes § 52-557n; Whether defendant entitled to governmental immunity for negligent operation of motor vehicle in course of conducting surveillance; "The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether a police officer who was involved in a crash while using an automobile to perform surveillance during an investigation of possible criminal activity was engaged in a discretionary act for purposes of governmental immunity under the common law or General Statutes § 52-557n (a) (2) (B). The plaintiff, Devonte Daley, appeals, upon our grant of his petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing in part the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the plaintiff after a jury trial, in this personal injury action against the defendants, Zachary Kashmanian, a police officer, and his employer, the city of Hartford (city). See Daley v. Kashmanian, 193 Conn. App. 171, 190, 219 A.3d 499 (2019). On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that Kashmanian's actions during his surveillance of the plaintiff using a "soft car," which is an unmarked vehicle lacking police equipment, were discretionary acts for purposes of governmental immunity. We conclude that Kashmanian's operation of the soft car, including following the statutory rules of the road; see General Statutes § 14-212 et seq.; was a ministerial function and that the defendants, therefore, were not entitled to discretionary act immunity for Kashmanian's negligent operation of the soft car during the surveillance operation. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the Appellate Court.")