Avoletta v. City of Torringon
Intentional spoliation of evidence and fraudulent concealment are acts encompassed within C.G.S. §52-557n(a)(2)(A) and, under our case law, a municipality cannot be held liable for the intentional torts of its employees. The plaintiff, Joanne Avoletta brought this action as parent and next friend of the plaintiffs, Peter and Matthew Avoletta, her minor sons, and on her own behalf, seeking damages and injunctive relief against the city of Torrington, its board of education and seven individually named defendants in their individual and official capacities. The complaint alleged that the defendants failed to implement and enforce federal and state laws that required them to provide the minor plaintiffs with a free and appropriate public education in a safe school environment in properly maintained buildings with adequate indoor air quality. The defendants removed the case to the District Court which dismissed six of the eight counts and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims in the two remaining counts. The case was remanded to the Superior Court. That court granted the defendants' motion to strike the two remaining counts labeled intentional spoliation of evidence and fraudulent concealment finding that the counts alleged intentional acts involving willful misconduct and fraud and that the plaintiffs had failed to set forth a statutory basis for abrogating the defendants' governmental immunity under C.G.S. §52-557n. The plaintiffs appealed claiming that the trial court improperly rendered judgment for the city, board and individual defendants in their official capacities after striking the remaining two counts. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The two counts at issue alleged intentional torts involving fraud or willful misconduct. Such claims are barred by governmental immunity. C.G.S. §52-557n (a)(2)(A) expressly provides that a political subdivision of the state shall not be liable for acts or omissions of its employees that constitute "criminal conduct, fraud, actual malice or willful misconduct. . ." Intentional spoliation of evidence and fraudulent concealment are acts encompassed within C.G.S. §52-557n(a)(2)(A).