RICKY E. COSTA ET AL.
PLAINVILLE BOARD OF EDUCATION ET AL.
May 18, 2017
to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by the
named plaintiff as a result of the defendants' alleged
negligence, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial
district of New Britain, where the court, Hon. Joseph M.
Shortall, judge trial referee, granted in part the
defendants' motion to strike; thereafter, the complaint
was withdrawn as to the defendant Jeffrey C. Kitching;
subsequently, the court granted the motion for summary
judgment filed by the named defendant et al. and rendered
judgment thereon; thereafter, the court denied the
plaintiffs' motion to reargue, and the plaintiffs
appealed to this court. Affirmed.
J. Geragosian, for the appellants (plaintiffs).
Beatrice S. Jordan, for the appellees (named defendant et
DiPentima, C. J., and Prescott and Flynn, Js.
plaintiffs, M and her son R, sought to recover damages for
negligence from the defendants, the town of Plainville, its
board of education, and the town's high school principal.
R, who was a high school student, sustained injuries during a
basketball game at a school sponsored picnic, which was held
during regular school hours at a facility off campus. The
plaintiffs alleged that at the time of R's injury, no
school personnel were present at or supervising the
basketball court where the injury occurred. The trial court
granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on
all counts of the plaintiffs' amended complaint on the
ground of governmental immunity, concluding that the alleged
conduct of the defendants involved a discretionary duty
pursuant to statute (§ 52-557n [a]  [B]). The
plaintiffs appealed to this court claiming that summary
judgment was improper because issues of material fact existed
as to whether the defendants were entitled to immunity
because their alleged acts and omissions were ministerial in
nature and as to whether the identifiable person-imminent
harm exception to governmental immunity applied.
Held that the trial court properly rendered summary
judgment in favor of the defendants as there was no genuine
issue of material fact that the defendants were entitled to
governmental immunity: although the plaintiffs suggested that
the defendants' duty to supervise students during school
sanctioned events such as the picnic was ministerial, the
general safety guidelines and school board policies on which
the plaintiffs relied did not constitute a clear directive
that negated the need for the defendants to exercise judgment
and discretion in providing adequate supervision;
furthermore, the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that R was
an identifiable person for the purposes of the identifiable
person-imminent harm exception to discretionary act immunity,
as although schoolchildren who are on school property during
school hours constitute a narrow, identifiable class of
foreseeable victims, schoolchildren who voluntarily
participate in nonmandatory school sponsored activities donot
fall within that identifiable class, and here, Rwas neither
required to attend the picnic nor to participate in the
basketball game during which he was injured.
plaintiffs, Ricky E. Costa, who suffered serious injury to
his right eye during a pickup basketball game at a Plainville
High School senior class picnic, and his mother, Maria Costa,
appeal from the summary judgment rendered on all counts in
favor of the defendants, the town of Plainville (town), the
town's Board of Education (board), and Steven LePage,
Plainville High School's principal. The plaintiffs
claim that the court improperly rendered summary judgment on
the basis of governmental immunity. The plaintiffs contend
that the evidence presented raised a genuine issue of
material fact regarding whether discretionary act immunity
applied and whether Ricky Costa was an identifiable person
for purposes of the identifiable person-imminent harm
exception to governmental immunity. We disagree and,
accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.
following undisputed material facts, as set forth by the
trial court or gleaned from the summary judgment record, and
procedural history are relevant to our resolution of the
plaintiffs' claims. Plainville High School conducted its
annual senior class picnic on June 17, 2011. The picnic
occurred during regular school hours, but was held off campus
at a YMCA campground facility in Burlington that includes a
softball field, basketball court, and swimming pool. Students
were not obligated to go to the picnic, but Ricky Costa
voluntarily attended it and elected to participate in a
pick-up basketball game in which he was injured. His injury
occurred when another player poked him in the eye while they
were attempting to get the ball.
generally supervised the picnic along with several teachers
and a school nurse, none of whom, however, was stationed near
or monitoring the basketball court. Accordingly, no school
personnel were present at or supervising the basketball court
at the time the injury occurred. Prior to Ricky Costa's
injury, no one had been injured at the picnic nor had any
issue arisen regarding student behavior. Moreover, no
behavioral issues or basketball related injuries had occurred
at senior class picnics in prior years.
time of the picnic, the school board had in place a
supervision policy that provided, inter alia, that school
sponsored activities ‘‘must be well-planned and
organized and must provide for the adequate supervision and
welfare of participating students at all times.''
Guidelines for School Sponsored Activities and Organizations,
Policy No. 6145.5 (2005).
plaintiffs commenced the underlying action on June 13, 2013.
The operative amended complaint was filed on July 14, 2015,
and contained five counts. Counts one through three sounded
in negligence and were brought by Ricky Costa against the
board, the town, and LePage. Count four asserts a claim for
damages against the board premised upon LePage's right to
indemnification pursuant to General Statutes §
10-235.Count five was brought by Maria Costa
against the board and was derivative of the negligence claims
of her son. She sought reimbursement for expenditures she