Colon v. City of New Haven
In Colon v. City of New Haven, 60 Conn. App. at 178, 180, 758 A.2d at 900, cert. denied, 255 Conn. at 908, 763 A.2d at 1034 (2000), the plaintiffs sought to recover from the defendant board of education after the plaintiff student was struck by a door that allegedly was negligently opened by a teacher at her school. Id. at 179-80.
The complaint simply alleged that the teacher had acted negligently and that the defendant was liable for the negligence of its employees. Id. at 180. The defendant raised a special defense of governmental immunity and then moved for summary judgment on that special defense. Id. The trial court rendered a summary judgment in favor of the defendant. Id.
It held that the teacher's action in opening the door was discretionary rather than ministerial and, therefore, the defendant was not liable unless the action fell within an exception to the rule that employees of a municipality are not be liable for their discretionary acts. Id.
On appeal, the plaintiffs claimed that the trial court improperly determined that the teacher's actions were discretionary rather than ministerial. Id. at 181.
The Court disagreed. The Court explained that "although the determination of whether official acts or omissions are ministerial or discretionary is normally a question of fact for the fact finder . . . there are cases where it is apparent from the complaint." Id. at 181, citing Evon v. Andrews, 211 Conn. at 505-507.
The Court stated that because the plaintiffs' complaint contained no allegation that the teacher was required to perform, i.e., open the door, in a prescribed manner and failed to do so, it was apparent from the complaint that the plaintiffs had not alleged that the teacher was performing a ministerial duty. Id., 60 Conn. App. at 182-83.