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Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Mazur, Catherine


SC19656 - Hull v. Newtown (Personal injury; "This appeal requires us to determine whether certain policy and procedures of the Newtown Police Department (department) imposed a ministerial duty on its officers to search Stanley Lupienski, an individual suffering from auditory hallucinations and shortness of breath, when they took him into custody pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-503 (a). The plaintiffs, Andrew Hull and Erica Hull, appeal from the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant, the town of Newtown. The plaintiffs contend that the arrest section of the department's policy (arrest policy) imposes a ministerial, nondiscretionary duty on the police to search anyone taken into custody, including those taken into custody pursuant to § 17a-503 (a). See Newtown Board of Police Commissioners, Newtown Police Policy and Procedure 3.00 (revised February 1, 2005) (Police Policy). Alternatively, the plaintiffs argue that Lupienski was a prisoner and, therefore, subject to mandatory search under the department's prisoner transportation section of the policy (transportation policy). See id., 3.07 (revised May 5, 2009). The defendant counters that the arrest policy applies only in the context of criminal arrest and does not apply in the context of civil mental health custody, which is governed by § 17a-503 (a). The defendant also argues that the transportation policy does not apply to those under custody pursuant to § 17a-503 (a). We agree with the defendant and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")