Swan v. Town of Woodbridge
A municipality does not perform a discretionary function, if a municipal commission that is responsible for maintenance, pursuant to a municipal ordinance, is unaware of its responsibility and does not perform any maintenance. On April 8, 2008, the plaintiff, Karen Swan, worked as an emergency medical technician for American Medical Response of Connecticut and allegedly fell at or near the bottom of a stairwell located at 4 Meetinghouse Lane in Woodbridge. Swan sued the Town of Woodbridge, which owned the property, and argued that the municipality was negligent, because the steps were uneven and a piece of the steps was missing. The municipality argued it possessed discretion about whether to maintain the property. A municipal ordinance, §75-82(A), provides that the Emergency Medical Services Commission is responsible for maintenance of municipal property used to deliver emergency medical services. It was undisputed that the commission has not inspected the area or performed any maintenance. "[I]t is difficult to understand," wrote the court, "how the defendant Town was performing a `discretionary' function when it was not functioning at all pursuant to the dictates of the Town Code." Arguably, the defendant municipality breached its ministerial duty, because it did not perform, or even know about, its maintenance function at Meetinghouse Lane, pursuant to §75-82(A) of the municipal ordinance. The court denied the municipality's motion for summary judgment.