Wanat v. D'Addio; Sullivan v. D'Addio
A lake authority that is established pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §7-151a can qualify for government immunity for discretionary conduct under C.G.S. §§7-101a and 52-557n. In July 2008, during a fishing tournament run by the Watershed Bassmasters, two boats collided on Candlewood Lake at about 1:15 a.m., and two individuals were killed and three were injured. The plaintiffs sued, alleging that the defendants breached their duties and were reckless. Five municipal defendants and Candlewood Lake Authority moved for summary judgment. The plaintiffs objected that Candlewood Lake Authority, which possesses the authority to form a lake patrol and to perform law enforcement on the lake, did not constitute a "municipality," pursuant to C.G.S. §7-101a(e). C.G.S. §7-151a provides, "Any two or more towns which have within their territorial limits a body of state water may establish by ordinance a lake authority." The statute adds, "Said authority shall act as agent for the member towns in cooperating with the Commissioner of Environmental Protection in the enforcement of the boating laws." The court found that the definition of "municipality" includes an "authority," provided that the "authority" is established by Connecticut General Statutes. Consequently, a lake "authority" established under C.G.S. §7-151a may qualify for government immunity, under C.G.S. §§7-101a and 52-557n. There was a genuine issue of material fact with respect to whether the municipal defendants and Candlewood Lake Authority engaged in discretionary conduct, and the court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment.