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Tort Law Supreme and Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions

by Mazur, Catherine


SC19898 - Ventura v. East Haven (Negligence; "The plaintiff, Thomas Ventura, commenced this action against the named defendant, the town of East Haven, seeking damages for injuries he sustained when he was struck by an unregistered vehicle driven by a third party, Vladimir Trnka. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant is liable for those damages because he would not have incurred them if Jeffrey R. Strand, an East Haven police officer who had been dispatched to respond to an incident involving Trnka shortly before he was struck, had directed that Trnka's vehicle be towed in accordance with certain police department tow rules. According to the plaintiff, those rules require the towing of unregistered vehicles like Trnka’s. Following a trial, the jury rejected the defendant's claim of governmental immunity, finding that Strand had a ministerial duty under those tow rules to have had Trnka’s vehicle towed, and awarded the plaintiff $12,200,000 in damages. The trial court thereafter granted in part the defendant's motion for remittitur and reduced the verdict to $6,200,000. The defendant appealed to the Appellate Court, which reversed the judgment of the trial court on the ground that the defendant was immune from suit because its tow rules did not impose on Strand a clear ministerial duty to tow Trnka’s vehicle. See Ventura v. East Haven, 170 Conn. App. 388, 414–15, 154 A.3d 1020 (2017). We granted the plaintiff’s petition for certification to appeal, limited to the issue of whether the Appellate Court correctly determined that governmental immunity barred the plaintiff’s action. Ventura v. East Haven, 325 Conn. 905, 156 A.3d 537 (2017). We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court because we agree that the plaintiff's action is foreclosed by governmental immunity.")

AC40799 - Anderson v. Dike (Personal injury; "The plaintiff, Francis Anderson, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Charles Dike, Thomas Ward-McKinley, Steve Lazrove and Heather Madison. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, (2) denied his motion for a jury trial and (3) denied his motions for the appointment of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the court.")