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.

Kurisoo v. Ziegler

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

July 4, 2017

ERIC KURISOO
v.
HARRY ZIEGLER ET AL.

          Argued Date February 8, 2017

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of New London, Zemetis, J. [motion for summary judgment]; Vacchelli, J. [summary judgment]

          Mary M. Puhlick, for the appellant (plaintiff).

          Alexandra J. Zeman, with whom, on the brief, were Michael P. Kenney and Kate J. Boucher, for the appellee (named defendant).

          Joseph M. Musco, for the appellee (defendant Mystic Seaport Museum).

          Sheldon, Beach and Harper, Js.

         Syllabus

         The plaintiff sought to recover damages from the defendants, Z and M Co., for negligence in connection with personal injuries he had sustained in a motor vehicle accident when his vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by Z. As to M Co., the plaintiff initially brought this action claiming that M Co.'s direct negligence had proximately caused his injuries. M Co. moved for summary judgment on the only count then pending against it, claiming that it did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff because M Co.'s alleged negligence did not create a reasonably foreseeable risk that the alleged harm would occur, as required under the first prong of the legal duty analysis. The trial court rejected M Co.'s argument, but granted M Co.'s motion for summary judgment on the ground that, under the second prong of the legal duty analysis, M Co.'s responsibility for its alleged negligence should not extend to the plaintiff under these circumstances for reasons of public policy, and that there was no need for a determination of the factual issue of whether the plaintiff's injuries were reasonably foreseeable to M Co. Subsequent to M Co.'s filing of its first summary judgment motion, but prior to the trial court's ruling on that motion, the plaintiff amended his complaint to allege that M Co. was also vicariously liable for the negligence of Z, who had proximately caused his injuries. In response, after the court had ruled on M Co.'s first motion for summary judgment, M Co. filed a motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff's vicarious liability claim on the sole ground that vicarious liability could not be established because Z was not acting as the agent, servant or employee of M Co. at the time of the collision that caused the plaintiff's injuries. The court again rejected the argument raised by M Co., concluding, inter alia, that the plaintiff had failed to establish the absence of a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Z was acting as M Co.'s agent, but again rendered summary judgment in favor of M Co., finding that, as a matter of public policy, M Co. owed no legal duty to the plaintiff at the time of its alleged negligence that proximately caused the plaintiff's injuries. On appeal to this court, the plaintiff claimed, inter alia, that the trial court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of M Co. on both of its motions because the court based its rulings on a ground not raised in M Co.'s summary judgment motions. Held that both of M Co.'s motions for summary judgment should have been denied, the trial court having lacked the authority to render summary judgment for M Co. because the court based its summary judgment rulings on a ground not raised by M Co. in its motions, namely, that M Co.'s responsibility for its alleged negligence should not extend to the plaintiff under the circumstances of this case for reasons of public policy; in ruling on both the first and second motion for summary judgment, the court rejected the only basis upon which M Co. claimed it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law, specifically, that it owed no duty of care to the plaintiff.

         Procedural History

         Action to recover damages for the defendants' alleged negligence, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New London, where the court, Zemetis, J., granted the motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant Mystic Seaport Museum as to one count of the complaint; thereafter, the court, Vacchelli, J., granted the motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant Mystic Seaport Museum and rendered judgment thereon, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court. Reversed; further proceedings.

          OPINION

          SHELDON, J.

         The plaintiff, Eric Kurisoo, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant Mystic Seaport Museum d/b/ a Mystic Seaport. On September 20, 2013, the plaintiff was injured when the motorcycle he was operating collided with a motor vehicle operated by Harry Ziegler, [1] who, at the time of the collision, was participating in an antique car tour sponsored by the defendant. The plaintiff initially brought this action, claiming that its direct negligence had proximately caused his injuries. Subsequently, he amended his complaint to allege, as well, that the defendant was vicariously liable for the negligence of Ziegler, who had proximately caused such injuries. The court rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendant on both of the plaintiff's claims, finding, as a matter of public policy, that it owed no duty to the plaintiff at the time of its direct or vicarious negligence. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendant on both of his claims because it based its rulings on a ground not raised in the defendant's summary judgment motions. We agree with the plaintiff, and thus reverse the judgment of the trial court.[2]

         The trial court found that the following facts were undisputed. “[The defendant] is an on profit, educational institution that operates Mystic Seaport [(seaport)], located in Mystic. . . . It is a recreation of a nineteenth century coastal village with historic ships, and it offers related exhibits and attractions to the public. It has, since 1996, sponsored an antique car show featuring pre-1930 vintage automobiles on the grounds of the seaport called the ‘By Land and By Sea Antique Vehicle Show.' The show permits vintage car owners to exhibit their vehicles for public viewing on a Sunday. Although there is an admission fee for entry to the seaport, there is no extra charge for viewing the Sunday antique auto show.

         “At the time of the accident . . . Ziegler registered his antique car for inclusion in the show. He was required to and did pay a $40 registration fee to be able to enter his car in the show. As part of the weekend activities, [the] seaport staff and volunteers organized driving tours on the Friday and Saturday before the show for the entrants to give them the ...


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.