• New London J.D., at New London
  • CV10-6006879
  • Jan 30 2014 (Date Decided)
  • Devine, J.

To prevail on a claim that a camp bench was dangerously unstable, a plaintiff must prove: 1.) the bench was defective; 2.) the camp owner knew or should have known that the bench was defective; and 3.) the alleged defect existed a sufficient time that the camp owner, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have discovered and repaired it. On Oct. 19, 2008, the plaintiff, William Leuze, was working as a volunteer at a Boy Scout event at Camp Tadma in Bozrah, and he allegedly stood up on a wooden camp bench and fell off the bench. Leuze sued the Connecticut Rivers Council Inc. and alleged that the wooden bench was dangerously unstable and that the defendant Boy Scouts knew or should have known that the bench was dangerous and failed to maintain it. The defendant moved for summary judgment and argued it lacked actual or constructive notice, because it did not receive any complaints about the bench and did not observe any defects. "The defendant can be charged with having constructive notice of a defect when it is of such a nature and duration that a reasonable inspection would have disclosed the risk," pursuant to Ormsby v. Frankel, a decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. The defendant’s camp ranger admitted that the wooden benches had been at the camp since September 1994. The camp ranger also admitted that another item that required repair, a board that was used to secure gutters, was not repaired for four years. A genuine issue of material fact existed concerning whether the wooden camp benches were dangerously unstable and the defendant received constructive notice of the instability, and the court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

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