The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Mazur, Catherine


SC19570 - Williams v. Housing Authority (Negligence; "This certified appeal arises out of a tragic fire in which four residents of a Bridgeport public housing complex—Tiana N.A. Black and her three young children—lost their lives. The plaintiff, Twila Williams, as administratrix of the estate of each decedent, brought the present action against the Bridgeport Fire Department and five Bridgeport city officials—Fire Chief Brian Rooney, Fire Marshal William Cosgrove, Mayor William Finch, Zoning Administrator Dennis Buckley, and Building Official Peter Paajanen—(collectively, the municipal defendants) as well as various other defendants who are not parties to the present appeal. The plaintiff alleged, among other things, that the decedents died as a result of the municipal defendants' negligent failure to inspect the smoke detection equipment in their apartment unit for compliance with applicable fire safety codes and regulations. The trial court, Sommer, J., rendered summary judgment for the municipal defendants, concluding, with respect to their alleged failure to inspect, that Connecticut's municipal liability statute, General Statutes § 52-557n, afforded them immunity from liability. The Appellate Court reversed, concluding that a jury reasonably could find that the conduct of the municipal defendants demonstrated 'a reckless disregard for health or safety under all the relevant circumstances' and, therefore, that they were potentially liable pursuant to § 52-557n (b) (8). Williams v. Housing Authority, 159 Conn. App. 679, 696, 124 A.3d 537 (2015). We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")