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Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Mazur, Catherine


SC191723 - Lucenti v. Laviero ("In this certified appeal, we consider the contours of the proof necessary, under Suarez v. Dickmont Plastics Corp., 229 Conn. 99, 111, 639 A.2d 507 (1994) (Suarez I), and Suarez v. Dickmont Plastics Corp., 242 Conn. 255, 280–81, 698 A.2d 838 (1997) (Suarez II), for an employee to establish an employer's subjective intent to create a dangerous situation with a 'substantial certainty of injury' to the employee, for purposes of avoiding application of General Statutes § 31-284 (a), the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers' Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq. The plaintiff, Dominick Lucenti, appeals, upon our grant of his petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, Greg Laviero and Martin Laviero Contractors, Inc. (Laviero Contractors). Lucenti v. Laviero, 165 Conn. App. 429, 441, 139 A.3d 752 (2016). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that evidence regarding warnings to Laviero from the plaintiff and other employees about the dangers posed by the use of a particular excavator, which would operate only when 'rigged' to run at full throttle, did not establish a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendants subjectively believed that the plaintiff's subsequent injuries from the use of that excavator were substantially certain to occur. We conclude that, in the absence of any evidence demonstrating the hallmarks typical of such employer misconduct, the plaintiff has failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact with respect to the defendants' subjective beliefs. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court."