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MUNICIPAL LAW: Superior Court holds school board and employees immune from liability for student’s injuries suffered when she fell from play structure during recess

The plaintiff sued the town board of education and others for injuries sustained when she fell from a tunnel that she was climbing on at her elementary school’s playground during recess.  She alleged that the injuries were caused by the negligent supervision of school employees.

The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing immunity.  The court granted that motion, holding that plaintiff failed to proffer a written directive establishing a ministerial duty.  Two of the school’s teachers had also submitted affidavits stating that there were no such directives on supervision of students during recess.

The identifiable person- imminent harm exception to immunity did not apply because the plaintiff had not shown that the mere act of climbing on the tunnel created a risk of imminent harm.  There was no evidence of other students having been injured while climbing on the tunnel, though one teacher acknowledged having told other students to get off the tunnel previously.  The fact that climbing on the tunnel was an improper use of it did not alone raise an issue of fact as to imminence of harm.

Panarella v. Greenwich Board of Education, CV16-6028575 (10/31/2017)