Granja v. The Middlebury Congregational Church
An association that takes a teen to an amusement area may not owe a duty to the teen, absent allegations that the association took custody of the teen and deprived her of her normal power of self-protection, or subjected her to associations with individuals likely to harm. In 2009, the plaintiff, 16, allegedly went with a church youth group to Fun Factor, where she suffered a concussion. The plaintiffs sued the defendant church, alleging it was responsible to keep her safe, and failed to adequately supervise. The church argued that the plaintiffs failed to adequately allege it owed a duty of care, and it moved to strike the plaintiffs' counts alleging negligence and negligent supervision. "[T]he test for the existence of a legal duty of care entails 1.) a determination of whether an ordinary person in the defendant's position, knowing what the defendant knew or should have known, would anticipate that harm of the general nature of that suffered was likely to result; and 2.) a determination, on the basis of a public policy analysis, of whether the defendant's responsibility for its negligent conduct should extend to the particular consequences or particular plaintiff," pursuant to Grenier v. Commissioner of Transportation, a 2012 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court. Section 320 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts provides, "One who is required by law to take or who voluntarily takes the custody of another under circumstances such as to deprive the other of his normal power of self-protection or to subject him to association with persons likely to harm him, is under a duty to exercise reasonable care." Here, the plaintiffs failed to adequately allege that the church took custody of the minor plaintiff and deprived her of her normal power of self-protection or subjected her to associations with individuals likely to harm. The plaintiffs also did not allege that the church knew that it had the ability to control happenings at Fun Factor and knew, or should have known, control was required. The plaintiffs failed to adequately allege a duty of care, and the court granted the church's motion to strike.