The Law Tribune previews an important or interesting case most weeks when the state Appellate Court or state Supreme Court is in session.
Case: Maribeth Blonski v. Metropolitan District Commission
Court: Connecticut Supreme Court
Date: Feb. 13
Attorneys: Steven D. Ecker; Charles L. Howard
Summary: A regional water agency is challenging the $2.9 million verdict awarded to a woman who was injured while biking at a West Hartford reservoir. The agency claims that governmental immunity should have protected it from such a claim.
Background: Maribeth Blonski, of Rocky Hill, the former host of a public access television program about mountain biking, was out for a ride at the Talcott Mountain Recreation Area in May 2002.
The 3,000 acres belong to the Metropolitan District Commission, which oversees the Hartford region's water supply, and the property includes several reservoirs and filtration plants. There are also biking and hiking trails, some paved and some not.
The MDC put up gates at various spots during the 1970s to guard against water contamination and vandalism. The gates consist of two posts about 15 feet apart with a large yellow pipe extending between them. When closed, the pipes extend across the roadway. Some of the gates were re-opened in the 1980s but were again closed for security purposes after the September 2001 terrorist attacks.