Gambardella v. Leifert
Genuine issues about whether it was raining, shortly before or during a physical education class, and whether an artificial playing turf provided a safe surface for school children, can bar summary judgment in a minor school student's personal-injury suit. Allegedly, the plaintiffs' minor child participated in a physical education class at middle school and was injured when another school student fell on her. The minor child's parents sued on her behalf. The defendants moved for summary judgment and argued that they were entitled to government immunity, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §52-557n. The defendants conceded that the minor plaintiff was an "identifiable" victim and argued that there was no evidence of foreseeable harm. The plaintiffs objected that an exception to government immunity applied. To qualify for an exception to government immunity, the plaintiffs must establish: 1.) an imminent harm; 2.) an identifiable victim; and 3.) a public official to whom it is apparent that his or her conduct is likely to subject the victim to harm. The court found that there were genuine issues of material fact with respect to whether it was raining, shortly before or during the physical education class, and whether the artificial turf provided a safe surface for gym students. "Such questioning does raise a material issue," wrote the court, "as seen in the case of Purzycki v. Town of Fairfield, 244 Conn. 101 (1998), as to whether such a condition could create an unreasonable risk of injury to that specific class of students at the middle school." The court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment.