United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
BOND ARTERTON, U.S.D.J.
Borough of Naugatuck brings this action against Knight
Transportation, Inc. and its employee Warren L. Huggins, Jr.
("Defendants") alleging negligent property damage
to Plaintiffs high school track. Defendants concede liability
and move [Doc. #18] for summary judgment on the applicable
measure of damages to be awarded to Plaintiff.
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is granted for
the reasons that follow.
did not submit a Local Rule 56(a)(2) Statement, and the
following set of facts is undisputed for the purposes of this
motion. See D. Conn. L. Civ. R. 56(a)(1) ("Each
material fact set forth in the Local Rule 56(a)(1) Statement
and supported by the evidence will be deemed admitted ...
unless such fact is controverted by the Local Rule 56(a)(2)
December 31, 2014, Defendants were making a scheduled
delivery of products to Naugatuck High School. (Def.'s
Stmt. of Material Facts [Doc. # 18-2] ¶2.) Defendant
Huggins had trouble finding a road off the Plaintiffs
property that would accommodate his tractor trailer vehicle.
He opened the gate to and drove onto Plaintiffs high school
track to turn his vehicle around. (Id. ¶¶
3-4.) This maneuver resulted in damage to two parts of the
track: a portion of one lane of the track itself ("Lane
3") and an infield area of the track. (Id.
¶ 5.) The damaged area of Lane 3 was approximately 1.5
square feet and required a patch of 1.3 square yards; the
total area of the track is 6, 980 yards. (Id.
¶¶ 5, 22.)
hired a subsidiary of the company that originally installed
the track to perform the repairs to the track, which were
completed by August 26, 2015 for a cost of $16, 283.00.
(Id. ¶ 7-8; Ex. B to id. [Doc. # 18-4]
at 20.) This professional installer made the repairs using
the same material used for the original installation and
created a texture similar to the rest of the track.
(Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 9.) There is no evidence to suggest
that the repairs were not performed in a proper and
workmanlike manner or that the repairs failed to meet
industry standards for safety and performance. (Id.
the repaired area of Lane 3 does not match the color of the
rest of the track. (Id. ¶ 16.) There is also a
slight difference in compression between the repaired portion
of Lane 3 and the adjacent track. (See Dep. Tr. of
Brian Mariano, Ex. A to id. [Doc. 18-3] at 23:3-8
("... when the weather is cold, the track is hard
everywhere, but as you get into track season, there's a
definite squishier feel. There's a little more
compression to the patch than the rest of the track.
Typically, the track is a little bit firmer for that grip,
and that area is a little bit softer. . . .").) The
repaired portion of the infield area of the track is visually
imperceptible. (Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 17; Engineer's
Report, Ex. C to id. [Doc. # 18-5] at 5
("Recent photographs show uniform color and texture
throughout the repaired Infield....").)
repaired area of the track is both safe to use and fully
functional for its intended use- there is no evidence that
the difference in compression affects the performance of the
track, and the track has been in continuous, normal use since
it was repaired. (Def.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 13, 16-17.)
No visiting coach or athlete has raised concerns about the
track, and the track coach at Naugatuck High School has never
voiced any safety concerns about the track. (Id.
¶¶ 14-15.) However, some community members have
complained about the track's aesthetics. (Mariano Dep.
Tr. at 19:12-14.)
proposal submitted to Plaintiffs, the repair installer
included an optional component of the repair:
'"Additional Charge' - In the event that the
patch area is still visible and the [Plaintiff] is not
satisfied an[d] a[n] additional structural spray layer is
needed there will be a charge of $5900.00 added to the [$16,
283.00] base price below." (3/28/15 Proposal, Ex. B to
Def.'s Stmt. at 22.) Plaintiff did not purchase this
option. (Def.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 19-20.) More than one
year after repairs were completed, Plaintiff received a
proposal for applying a structural spray layer to the surface
of the entire track at an estimated cost of $119, 250.00.
(10/29/16 Proposal, Ex. B to id. at 23.) Even with
this additional step, the repair to Lane 3 will remain
somewhat noticeable. (Stone Aff. ¶ 17 ("It is
almost impossible to completely correct a color
difference in the track surface after a repair is made. It is
possible that a structural spray layer over the entire track
surface will minimize the appearance of any color
differences, but it will not completely restore the
appearance of the track surface to its original, pre-damage
make no argument that the infield portion of the track
requires further repairs. (Pl.'s Mem. [Doc. # 19] at 9
("The plaintiff submits that there is sufficient
evidence ... to establish the existence of a genuine issue of
material fact, namely, whether the running track was restored
to substantially the same condition it was in before the
judgment is appropriate where, after all ambiguities and
inferences are drawn in favor of the party against whom
judgment is sought, the moving party shows there is no
genuine issue of material fact. Gallo v. Prudential
Residential Servs., L.P.,22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir.
1994) (citing Heyman v. Commerce & Indus. Ins.
Co.,524 F.2d 1317, 1320 (2d Cir. 1975)). "The
moving party bears the burden of establishing the absence of
any genuine issue of material fact," Zalaski v. City
of Bridgeport Police Dep't,613 F.3d 336, 340 (2d
Cir. 2010), but "in cases where the nonmovant will bear
the ultimate burden of proof at trial on an issue, the moving
party's burden under Rule 56 will be satisfied if he can
point to an absence of evidence to support an essential
element of the nonmoving party's claim." Brady
v. Town of Colchester,863 F.2d 205, 210-11 (2d Cir.
1988) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317
(1986)). "[S]ummary judgment will not lie if the dispute
about a material fact is 'genuine,' that is, if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the ...