March 19, 2019
from Superior Court in the judicial district of New Britain,
where the court, Swienton, J.
Matthew C. Eagan, with whom was James P. Sexton, for the
B. Staropoli, for the appellee (defendant).
Prescott, Elgo and Pellegrino, Js. PELLEGRINO, J. In this
opinion, ELGO, J., concurred.
Conn.App. 189] PELLEGRINO, J.
this premises liability action, the plaintiff, Isha Sen,
appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the
defendant, Kostas Tsiongas. On appeal, the plaintiff claims
that the trial court erred in rendering summary judgment in
favor of the defendant, who was the landlord of the apartment
building in which the plaintiff lived, because there was a
disputed issue of material fact as to whether the defendant
should have known that the dog of one of the other tenants
had vicious propensities. We agree with the plaintiff and,
accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to this
appeal. At the relevant times, the plaintiff resided in the
second floor apartment of a two unit apartment building at
396 Washington Street in Bristol (building). The defendant
was the owner and landlord of the building.
On September 18, 2015, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a dog that
was owned by the building's first floor tenant bit the
plaintiff in the building's common stairway. The
plaintiff was taken by ambulance to [192 Conn.App. 190] the
University of Connecticut Medical Center in Farmington, where
she was treated for her injuries, which included lacerations
to and numbness of her right hand.
4, 2016, the plaintiff commenced the present action. In her
operative complaint, the plaintiff alleged, inter alia, that
the defendant was negligent in failing to maintain the
building premises in a reasonably safe condition by allowing
the first floor tenant to keep a vicious animal, failing to
investigate the animal's history of viciousness, and
failing to enforce a provision of the lease that prohibited
pets on the premises.
July 13, 2017, the defendant filed a motion for summary
judgment, which was accompanied by an affidavit in which he
averred in relevant part: " At no time prior to
September 18, 2015, did I have any knowledge of the alleged
vicious propensities of the dog involved in the incident. . .
. At no time prior to September 18, 2015, did I observe the
dog involved in the incident engage in vicious behavior, nor
did [the dog's owner] or anyone else inform me that the
dog had a propensity toward viciousness."
August 30, 2017, the plaintiff filed an objection to the
defendant's motion for summary judgment. In support of
her objection, the plaintiff attached an affidavit in which
she averred in relevant part: " [The first floor tenant]
spoke openly about how the [dog] had been used as bait in dog
fighting. . . . It is my opinion that the [dog] exhibited
vicious qualities and that these qualities were apparent to
any reasonable person who observed the dog. . . . The [dog]
demonstrated aggression by barking, growling, and trying to
escape the first floor porch whenever I walked up the stairs.
. . . In June of 2015, the [dog] broke out of the porch and
advanced toward my husband, trying to bite him. The [dog]
managed to scratch him before it was brought under control. .
. . Before I was attacked, [the first floor tenant] informed
me that the [dog] had bitten his seven year old son."
Conn.App. 191] In support of her objection to the
defendant's motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff
also submitted a transcript of her deposition of the
defendant, which was taken on July 31, 2017. During the
deposition, the following exchange occurred between the
plaintiff's counsel and the defendant:
Q. You have a rule [in your lease agreement] that says,
'You will not have pets.' Why do you have that rule?
A. Well, I have that rule more like for . . . pets cause
damage . . . sometimes.
Q. What kind of damage can pets cause?
A. Well, going to the bathroom in the house, this and that,
but if somebody asks me, can I get [a pet], or if [they] have
a pet, and they're a good tenant . . . I'd say okay.
* * *
Q. What kind of damage [other than ...