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MUNICIPAL LAW: Snow removal on roadway did not qualify as excavation for purposes of Call Before You Dig statute

MUNICIPAL LAW: Snow Removal On Roadway Did Not Qualify As Excavation For Purposes Of Call Before You Dig Statute

In a case handled by Attorney Kathryn M. Cunningham at Jackson O’Keefe, LLP, obtained summary judgment in favor of municipal defendants arising out of alleged damage to a CL&P power unit along the side of a road.  CL&P sued, alleging that the equipment was negligently damaged when snow was being removed and cleared from the road by a plow.  CL&P attempted to circumvent governmental immunity by relying upon the Call Before You Dig statute, C.G.S. §16-346.  CL&P claimed that when the town was removing snow, it was effectively “excavating” and did not notify CL&P or the appropriate authority in violation of statute.

The Connecticut Superior Court agrees with the defendant municipality and Jackson O’Keefe that said statute did not apply.  “A plain reading of the statute does not equate snow removal to excavation.”  The court held that the statute’s definition of excavation did not reach to surface removal of snow from pavement.  The court also noted that a holding in accordance with CL&P’s claim would require every municipality and every private contractor and every property owner to contact the authorities before every snow removal operation on the chance that a public utility’s equipment might be struck during the course of clearing snow.

Connecticut Light & Power Co. v. Town of Avon, CV15-6027884 (Conn.Super. Young, J.)(Nov. 10, 2015)

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