May 13, 2019
from the Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford, 2018
WL 1386155, Jane S. Scholl, J.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
McQuillan, New Britain, for the appellant (plaintiff).
J. Melley, Hartford, for the appellee (named defendant).
Feola-Guerrieri, Stratford, for the appellee (defendant city
J. Healy and Karen K. Clark, Hartford, filed a brief for the
Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association as amicus curiae.
Bright and Harper, Js.
Conn.App. 173] This appeal stems from a personal injury
action brought by the plaintiff, Devonte Daley, against the
defendants, Zachary Kashmanian and the city of Hartford
(city), seeking damages for the injuries he sustained when
Kashmanian, a detective with the Hartford Police Department
who had been surveilling the plaintiff in an unmarked police
car, allegedly, negligently and recklessly caused the
plaintiff to be ejected from his motorcycle. The plaintiff
appeals, following a jury trial, from the judgment of the
trial court directing a verdict in favor of Kashmanian on the
plaintiffs recklessness claim, and from the judgment of the
trial court setting aside the jurys verdict on the
plaintiffs negligence claim. On appeal, the plaintiff claims
that the court improperly (1) directed a verdict because
there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find that
Kashmanian engaged in reckless conduct, and (2) set aside the
verdict with respect to the negligence claim on the ground
that the defendants were entitled to governmental immunity
because Kashmanian was engaged in ministerial, not
discretionary, conduct. We agree with the plaintiffs first
claim only, and, accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the
trial court directing a verdict on the recklessness claim and
affirm the judgment of the trial court setting aside the
verdict on the negligence claim.
relevant facts, viewed in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff, and procedural history, are as follows. On June 1,
2013, at approximately 12 a.m., the plaintiff was riding his
yellow Suzuki motorcycle on Asylum [193 Conn.App. 174] Avenue
in Hartford with a group of eight to ten other people who
were riding "dirt bikes" and "quads." The
plaintiffs motorcycle was neither "street legal"
nor "roadworthy" because it did not have headlights
and was equipped with off-road tires: a black tire on the
front and a yellow tire on the back. Also at that time,
Kashmanian was operating an unmarked gray Acura TL, which the
police characterize as a "soft car." A soft car is
a vehicle that is not equipped with flashing or revolving
lights, sirens, or police markings so that it is
indiscernible from ordinary civilian cars.
around that same time, a confidential informant provided an
anonymous tip to the police that a man riding a yellow
motorcycle with a yellow tire had a gun. Kashmanian was
instructed by other officers to perform
surveillance on the group of motorcycles and quads,
including the yellow motorcycle, which was operated by the
plaintiff. When Kashmanian arrived at Asylum Avenue, he
observed the yellow motorcycle and the group of motorcycles
and quads, and proceeded to follow them westbound on Asylum
Avenue. All of the motorcycles and quads then turned right
and proceeded northbound on Sumner Street, which is a two
lane road with a speed limit of twenty-five miles per hour.
At the intersection of Asylum and Sumner, Kashmanians
vehicle "sideswip[ed]" another motor vehicle driven
by Brontain Stringer, which had been proceeding in ...