Kumah v. Brown
Connecticut General Statutes §52-557n(a)(1) is reasonably construed to pertain to municipal roads and bridges only and it relevantly provides that no claim for damages arising out of a defective road or bridge may be brought against a municipality except pursuant to the municipal highway defect statute, C.G.S. §13a-149. The alleged facts included the following summary. A tractor trailer crashed on Interstate 95 in Greenwich blocking the right and center lanes. A responding member of the Cos Cob fire police patrol parked a fire truck across the right and center lanes with safety cones to alert oncoming vehicles. William Kumah collided with the fire truck sustaining serious injuries. He and his wife, Keziah Kumah, commenced this action alleging, against the town of Greenwich, negligence in the marking of the fire truck and lane closures and that the fire truck's positioning constituted a nuisance. The court granted the town's motion to strike the negligence counts alone. Following the Appellate Court's 2012 decision in Himmelstein v. Windsor, the court granted the town's renewed motion to strike the nuisance counts. The plaintiffs appealed from the judgment rendered for the town. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment, distinguishing Himmelstein. The town appealed contending that the Appellate Court improperly determined that the nuisance claims do not fall under C.G.S. §13a-149 and are not barred by C.G.S. §52-557n(a)(1). The Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Court's judgment. C.G.S. §52-557n(a)(1) does not evince, as the town claimed, a legislative intent to encompass all roads and bridges, including those maintained by the state within the statute's purview. It was far more reasonable to construe C.G.S. §52-557n(a)(1) as pertaining to municipal roads and bridges only. C.G.S. §52-557n is concerned with municipal liability and immunity and C.G.S. §13a-149 itself applies only to those roads and bridges that a municipality is "bound to keep …in repair." Reading C.G.S. §52-557n(a)(1) to include state roads and bridges would defeat its legislative purpose to provide for recovery when, as alleged here, the municipality created the nuisance on a state highway. Himmelstein, decided on its differing allegations, did not address the broader question decided here that a municipality is liable for nuisances that it creates on roads or bridges that the municipality itself is not required to keep in repair.