Tuite v. The Hospital of Central Connecticut
Under the mode of operation rule, the Connecticut Supreme Court explained in its 2007 decision in Kelly v. Stop & Shop, Inc. that "a business invitee who is injured by a dangerous condition on the premises may recover without proof that the business had actual or constructive notice of that condition if the business' chosen mode of operation creates a foreseeable risk that the condition regularly will occur and the business fails to take reasonable measures to discover and remove it." Mark Tuite brought this negligence action against the Hospital of Central Connecticut claiming that he was injured when he allegedly slipped on a drop of oil on the floor of the hospital cafeteria while making a salad at the salad bar. Following a bench trial, the court, Alander, J., rendered judgment for the defendant. The plaintiff appealed claiming that the court incorrectly applied the mode of operation doctrine and challenging the court's evidentiary rulings regarding whether the mode of operation of the salad bar created a hazard of spilled oil and whether the defendant took reasonable steps to discover and remove any hazards. The plaintiff further contended that the court abused its discretion in denying his motion for re-argument and reconsideration. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Finding the issues raised by the plaintiff properly were resolved in the trial court's thorough and well-reasoned memorandum of decision, the Appellate Court adopted that decision as the proper statement of the relevant facts, issues and applicable law. Because the trial court properly rendered judgment for the defendant, the court did not abuse its discretion in denying the plaintiff's motion for re-argument and reconsideration.