Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lewis v. Clarke

Supreme Court of Connecticut

March 15, 2016

BRIAN LEWIS ET AL.
v.
WILLIAM CLARKE ET AL

         Argued December 15, 2015.

         Petition for certiorari filed at, 06/13/2016

          Action to recover damages for the named defendant's alleged negligence, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New London, where the action was withdrawn as against the defendant Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority; thereafter, the court, Cole-Chu, J., denied the named defendant's motion to dismiss, and the named defendant appealed.

          SYLLABUS

         The plaintiffs sought to recover damages from the defendant C, for negligence in connection an automobile accident that had occurred during the course of C's employment as a limousine driver with the defendant tribal gaming authority. The plaintiffs withdrew their claims against the tribal gaming authority before trial. Thereafter, C filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that, because the accident had occurred during the course of his employment, the plaintiffs' claims against him in an individual capacity were barred under the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity. The trial court denied C's motion to dismiss, determining that the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity did not apply because the plaintiffs sought money damages from C personally and not from the tribal gaming authority. On C's subsequent appeal, held that the trial court improperly denied C's motion to dismiss; this court concluded that the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity extended to the plaintiffs' claims against C because the undisputed facts established that he was an employee of the tribal gaming authority and was acting within the scope of his employment when the accident occurred.

         Daniel J. Krisch, with whom was Robert A. Rhodes, for the appellant (named defendant).

         James M. Harrington, for the appellees (plaintiffs).

         Rogers, C. J., and Palmer, Zarella, Eveleigh, McDonald, Espinosa and Robinson, Js. EVELEIGH, J. In this opinion the other justices concurred.

          OPINION

Page 678

         [320 Conn. 707] EVELEIGH, J.

         The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether the trial court properly denied the defendant William Clarke's[1] motion to dismiss

Page 679

the claims made by the plaintiffs, Brian Lewis and Michelle Lewis, on the ground that tribal sovereign immunity did not apply to their claims against the defendant in his individual capacity. On appeal, the defendant asserts that the trial court improperly denied his motion to dismiss because tribal sovereign immunity barred the plaintiffs' claims against him for an accident that occurred while he was acting within the scope of his employment with the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.

          [320 Conn. 708] The following undisputed facts and procedural history are relevant to this appeal. " On October 22, 2011 . . . Brian Lewis was operating a motor vehicle southbound on [Interstate 95] in Norwalk, Connecticut. . . . Michelle Lewis was his passenger. [The defendant] was driving a limousine behind the plaintiffs. Suddenly and without warning, [the defendant] drove the limousine into the rear of the plaintiffs' vehicle and propelled the plaintiffs' vehicle forward with such force that it came to rest partially on top of a [concrete] barrier on the left-hand side of the highway. The collision and the plaintiffs' resulting injuries were caused by [the defendant's] negligence. At that time, [the defendant] was a Connecticut resident, had a Connecticut driver's license, and, according to the affidavit of Michael Hamilton, the [Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's director of transportation], was driving a limousine owned by the [Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority] and was employed by the [Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority] to do so. Specifically, [the defendant] was driving patrons of the Mohegan Sun Casino to their homes. The limousine was covered by an automobile insurance policy issued by Arch Insurance." (Footnote omitted.)

         The plaintiffs filed an action against the defendant claiming, inter alia, that they sustained injuries as a result of the defendant's negligence and carelessness.[2] The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, claiming that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because he was entitled to tribal sovereign immunity. In support of his motion, the defendant filed, inter alia, the affidavit from Hamilton. The plaintiffs opposed the motion, claiming that the trial court was not without subject matter jurisdiction because the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity does not extend to a tribal employee, who is named in his individual capacity, [320 Conn. 709] and the damages are sought from the employee, not from the tribe. The trial court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss, determining that it was not deprived of jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' claims under the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity because the plaintiffs sought money damages from the defendant personally, not from the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. This appeal followed.[3]

         On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to dismiss. Specifically, the defendant asserts that the trial court ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.