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PERSONAL INJURY LAW: Appellate Court reverses, in part, summary judgment for the Metropolitan District Commission arising out of flooding allegations

The plaintiff alleged that she sustained property damage and personal injury as a result of two incidents in which raw sewage flooded her basement.  The first incident allegedly occurred in October of 2005, and the second incident occurred in March of 2011.  Following the first incident, the defendant installed a backflow preventer.  The defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds of governmental immunity and the statute of limitations.  The Superior Court granted the motion.

On appeal, the Appellate Court reverses, in part.  With regard to governmental immunity, the court holds that the MDC failed to establish that the operation of the sanitary sewer system was a governmental as opposed to proprietary function.  In the absence of evidence, the Appellate Court could not conclude as a matter of law that a provision of sanitary sewer operations to paying customers was not proprietary.  The court affirmed the Superior Court with regard to the conclusion that the conduct at issue was discretionary and that the plaintiff did not qualify as an identifiable victim subject to imminent harm.  The Appellate Court further holds that summary judgment was appropriate pursuant to the statute of limitations with regard to the 2005 incident, but improper with regard to the 2011 flooding incident. The lawsuit was commenced approximately five months after the 2011 incident.  Finally, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s conclusion that the claims characterized by the plaintiff as contract claims were actually tort claims, such that the applicable tort statute of limitations, rather than the longer contract statute of limitations, was applicable.

Brusby v. Metropolitan District, 160 Conn. App. 638 (October 20, 2015)