Trotta v. Town of Branford, No. 9998

CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtNORCOTT
Citation26 Conn.App. 407,601 A.2d 1036
PartiesKim I. TROTTA et al. v. TOWN OF BRANFORD.
Docket NumberNo. 9998
Decision Date21 January 1992

Page 1036

601 A.2d 1036
26 Conn.App. 407
Kim I. TROTTA et al.
v.
TOWN OF BRANFORD.
No. 9998.
Appellate Court of Connecticut.
Argued Nov. 5, 1991.
Decided Jan. 21, 1992.

Page 1037

Karen E. Souza, New Haven, for appellant (named plaintiff).

Patricia Cofrancesco, New Haven, for appellee (defendant).

Before EDWARD Y. O'CONNELL, NORCOTT and LAVERY, JJ.

[26 Conn.App. 408] NORCOTT, Judge.

The named plaintiff, Kim I. Trotta (plaintiff), appeals following the granting of the defendant's motion for summary judgment. She claims that the court improperly granted the motion because it failed to find that a claimed design defect in a town road was within the ambit of General Statutes § 13a-149, 1 one of this jurisdiction's highway defect statutes. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

The following undisputed facts are relevant to the disposition of this appeal. The plaintiff served notice on the defendant and brought this action, pursuant to General Statutes § 13a-149, alleging that she was involved in an automobile accident on November 27, 1988, at Park Place and Main Street in Branford. By way of an amended complaint in two counts, she alleged that she had stopped her vehicle at a stop sign at the intersection, but that the presence of a neck-out--a rounded sidewalk extension--forced her to pull into the intersection farther than she would have if the neck-out had not been present, thereby resulting in a collision with another vehicle.

The plaintiff alleged, and the defendant admitted, that the neck-out was within the town's territorial [26 Conn.App. 409] boundaries. The plaintiff further alleged that the defendant breached its statutory duties to her by building and maintaining the neck-out, and by thereafter failing to take steps to prevent the collision. The defendant denied these allegations.

Page 1038

On October 4, 1990, the defendant moved for summary judgment, claiming that no genuine issue of material fact existed because, as a matter of law, a town cannot be held liable for design defects as alleged in the plaintiff's complaint. On November 8, 1990, the court granted the motion for summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff had failed to set forth a cause of action based on a design defect under General Statutes § 13a-149.

The plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the motion for summary judgment because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the claimed design defect is within the purview of General Statutes § 13a-149.

The standard for appellate review of a trial court's decision to grant a summary judgment motion is well established. Practice Book § 384 provides that summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, affidavits and any other proof submitted show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Connecticut Bank & Trust Co. v. Carriage Lane Associates, 219 Conn. 772, 780-81, 595 A.2d 334 (1991); Lees v. Middlesex Ins. Co., 219 Conn. 644, 650, 594 A.2d 952 (1991). " ' "Although the party seeking summary judgment has the burden of showing the nonexistence of any material fact; D.H.R. Construction Co. v. Donnelly, 180 Conn. 430, 434, 429 A.2d 908 (1980); a party opposing summary judgment must substantiate its adverse claim by showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact, together with the [26 Conn.App. 410] evidence disclosing the existence of such an issue. Practice Book §§ 380, 381; Burns v. Hartford Hospital, [192 Conn. 451, 455, 472 A.2d 1257 (1984) ]. In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the trial court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Town Bank & Trust Co. v. Benson, 176 Conn. 304, 309, 407 A.2d 971 (1978)." Strada v. Connecticut Newspapers, Inc., 193 Conn. 313, 317, 477 A.2d 1005 (1984). "The test is whether a party would be entitled to a directed verdict on the same facts." Batick v. Seymour, 186 Conn. 632, 647, 443 A.2d 471 (1982).' " Connecticut Bank & Trust Co. v. Carriage Lane Associates, supra, 219 Conn. at 781, 595 A.2d 334, citing Connell v. Colwell, 214 Conn. 242, 246-47, 571 A.2d 116 (1990). The dispositive issue here is whether the court properly determined that judgment for the defendant was required as a matter of law because the plaintiff failed to state a cause of action based on a design defect.

A defect in a highway has been described as " 'any object or condition in, upon, or near the traveled path which would necessarily obstruct or hinder one in the use of the road for the purpose of traveling thereon, or which, from its nature and position, would be likely to produce that result.' " Donnelly v. Ives, 159 Conn. 163, 167, 268 A.2d 406 (1970); Sanzone v. Board of Police Commissioners, 219 Conn. 179, 202, 592 A.2d 912 (1991). General Statutes § 13a-149 governs actions against municipalities while § 13a-144 governs similar actions against the state. Baker v. Ives, 162 Conn. 295, 298-99, 294 A.2d 290 (1972). When claims are adjudicated under either of these statutes, we apply the same rationale because no material difference exists in the obligations they impose on the state and its...

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38 practice notes
  • Morrissey-Manter v. Saint Francis Hosp. & Med. Ctr., No. 37628.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • June 28, 2016
    ...National Quality Forum's List of Serious Reportable Events, she offered no evidence to support this assertion. See Trotta v. Branford, 26 Conn.App. 407, 412, 601 A.2d 1036 (1992) (“[d]emonstrating a genuine issue requires a showing of evidentiary facts or substantial evidence outside the 16......
  • Field v. Kearns, No. 14689
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • November 7, 1996
    ...219 Conn. 772, 780-81, 595 A.2d 334 (1991); Lees v. Middlesex Ins. Co., 219 Conn. 644, 650, 594 A.2d 952 (1991); Trotta v. Branford, 26 Conn.App. 407, 409, 601 A.2d 1036 (1992). While the burden of showing the nonexistence of any material fact is on the party seeking summary judgment; see D......
  • State v. Mezrioui, No. 9836
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • January 21, 1992
    ...in its charge, the court fairly summarized the evidence offered by both the state and the defendant. The court instructed the jury [26 Conn.App. 407] to disregard any indication, expressed or intimated, concerning the court's opinion regarding the facts of the case. This reminder was repeat......
  • NetScout Systems, Inc. v. Gartner, Inc., CV146022988S
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Connecticut
    • September 11, 2017
    ...fact, it is not enough for the party opposing summary judgment merely to assert the existence of a disputed issue." Trotta v. Branford, 26 Conn.App. 407, 412, 601 A.2d 1036 (1992). " The test of the requirement for the granting of a summary judgment that the moving party be entitled to judg......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
38 cases
  • Morrissey-Manter v. Saint Francis Hosp. & Med. Ctr., No. 37628.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • June 28, 2016
    ...National Quality Forum's List of Serious Reportable Events, she offered no evidence to support this assertion. See Trotta v. Branford, 26 Conn.App. 407, 412, 601 A.2d 1036 (1992) (“[d]emonstrating a genuine issue requires a showing of evidentiary facts or substantial evidence outside the 16......
  • Field v. Kearns, No. 14689
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • November 7, 1996
    ...219 Conn. 772, 780-81, 595 A.2d 334 (1991); Lees v. Middlesex Ins. Co., 219 Conn. 644, 650, 594 A.2d 952 (1991); Trotta v. Branford, 26 Conn.App. 407, 409, 601 A.2d 1036 (1992). While the burden of showing the nonexistence of any material fact is on the party seeking summary judgment; see D......
  • State v. Mezrioui, No. 9836
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • January 21, 1992
    ...in its charge, the court fairly summarized the evidence offered by both the state and the defendant. The court instructed the jury [26 Conn.App. 407] to disregard any indication, expressed or intimated, concerning the court's opinion regarding the facts of the case. This reminder was repeat......
  • NetScout Systems, Inc. v. Gartner, Inc., CV146022988S
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Connecticut
    • September 11, 2017
    ...fact, it is not enough for the party opposing summary judgment merely to assert the existence of a disputed issue." Trotta v. Branford, 26 Conn.App. 407, 412, 601 A.2d 1036 (1992). " The test of the requirement for the granting of a summary judgment that the moving party be entitled to judg......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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