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MUNICIPAL LAW: Superior Court denies a motion for summary judgment based on governmental immunity in claim arising out of fall at train station

MUNICIPAL LAW: Superior Court Denies A Motion For Summary Judgment Based On Governmental Immunity In Claim Arising Out Of Fall At Train Station

The plaintiff fell when her foot was allegedly caught on a raised threshold exiting the Westport Greens Farm Railroad Station.  The threshold was allegedly raised at least six inches from the level of the outside door.  The Town moved for summary judgment, arguing that it was entitled to immunity for the discretionary duty allegedly involved.  The Superior Court denied the motion, finding an issue of fact with regard to whether a ministerial duty existed.  While noting that ample case law supported the proposition that making premises safe often involved discretionary duties, given the condition’s alleged existence over time, a reasonable jury could conclude that some actions, such as painting a threshold a contrasting color or providing a warning, were ministerial.  Additionally, the Superior Court finds an issue of fact as to whether the operation of the train station constituted a proprietary as opposed to a governmental function.

Zucker v. Town of Westport, CV 11-6009114S (Oct. 9, 2013 Adams, J.)