CT WRONGFUL DEATH – Connecticut Appellate Court reverses summary judgment for fire marshal arising out of fire at affordable housing unit

2015-11-13 | Matthew J. O'Keefe

Category: Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

Matthew J. O'Keefe

The case arose out of a fire that occurred in an affordable housing unit in Bridgeport.  The fire allegedly originated in the plaintiff/decedent’s oven in the apartment.  The State Police and fire department concluded from the location of the bodies that the decedents knew about the fire and made an attempt to leave the apartment, which lacked fire escapes and fire extinguishers.  Connecticut General Statutes §29-305b at all relevant times required that fire marshals conduct annual inspections of apartments.  In the case at bar, the units in question were not inspected.  The plaintiff’s expert witness provided an affidavit attesting that there were multiple code violations in the apartment.  The trial court found that the municipal defendants were immune from responsibility for their alleged negligence and that the plaintiff failed to produce sufficient evidence to establish an issue of fact with regard to allegations of recklessness.  On appeal, the Connecticut Appellate Court finds that there exists a genuine issue of material fact for the jury and that the granting of summary judgment was incorrect with regard to the claims of recklessness.  The court holds that a reasonable jury could find that the failure to inspect resulted from a conscious disregard of the fire marshal’s statutory obligations.  The Appellate Court further directs the trial court, on remand, to reconsider its decision in view of a 2014 Connecticut Supreme Court case modifying the imminent harm exception to governmental immunity.  Williams v. Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport, AC 36176 (September 15, 2015)

If you have a possible claim, you will need to review your options timely. For assistance, call the attorneys at Jackson O’Keefe now at (860) 276-8100.

With offices in Southington and Wethersfield, as well as satellite offices in East Haddam, Bloomfield and Farmington, our lawyers strive to meet the needs of area residents, making getting your legal services easier than ever.  Call us now to speak with us about your case. (860) 276-8100 during business hours or 860.966.7436 any time, or email us any time at info@jacksonokeefe.com

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