April 11, 2019
Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford, Robert B.
C. Bartlett, Jr., Cheshire, for the appellant (plaintiff).
P. Kriesen, with whom was Ronald J. Houde, Jr., Hartford, for
the appellees (defendants).
C. J., and Prescott and Moll, Js.
Conn.App. 873] The plaintiff, Cynthia Cyr, appeals from the
summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the
defendants, VKB, LLC (VKB), Shady Oaks Assisted Living, LLC
(Shady Oaks Assisted Living), Shady Oaks Rest Home, Inc.
(Shady Oaks Rest Home), Vernon W. Belanger, and Kay F.
Belanger. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court
improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the
defendants on all counts of her amended complaint when it (1)
failed to require the defendants, as the movants for summary
judgment, first to establish that there was no genuine issue
as to any material fact, (2) determined that the defendants
alleged affirmative acts did not create the defect in the
sidewalk, and (3) purportedly determined, as a matter of law,
that a business owner that invites individuals to enter and
exit its property at a particular location owes no duty to
ensure that such location is reasonably safe. We affirm in
part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.
following procedural history is relevant to our analysis of
the plaintiffs claims. On November 29, 2016, the plaintiff
commenced this action, sounding in negligence and negligence
per se, against the original defendants, VKB, Shady Oaks
Assisted Living, and Shady Oaks Rest Home. On February 2,
2017, the original defendants filed an answer and special
defenses in response to the plaintiffs original complaint.
On February 6, 2017, the original defendants filed a request
for leave to amend their answer and special defenses and
appended the proposed amendment, which was deemed to have
been filed by consent, absent objection. [194 Conn.App. 874]
On February 10, 2017, the plaintiff filed a
reply. On December 29, 2017, the plaintiff
filed a motion to cite in additional defendants, Vernon W.
Belanger and Kay F. Belanger, and to amend the complaint,
which was granted by the court on January 17, 2018.
January 31, 2018, the plaintiff filed her amended complaint
and alleged, inter alia, the following. At all relevant
times, the defendants owned, and/or were in the possession
and control of, real property located at 344 Stevens Street
in Bristol (property). On May 28, 2015, at approximately
10:15 a.m., the plaintiff was walking on the sidewalk
abutting the property, when she tripped on an approximately
one and one-half inch lip between two sidewalk
segments (defect) and fell, sustaining physical injuries,
principally to her left hand, which necessitated medical
treatment and interfered with her employment and enjoyment of
lifes activities. The parties do not dispute that the
sidewalk at issue is a public sidewalk.
basis of the foregoing factual allegations, the plaintiff
asserted the following claims: (1) negligence as to VKB
(count one); (2) negligence per se as to VKB (count two); (3)
nuisance as to VKB (count three); (4) negligence as to Shady
Oaks Assisted Living (count four); (5) negligence as to Shady
Oaks Rest Home (count five); (6) nuisance as to Vernon W.
Belanger (count six); and (7) nuisance as to Kay F. Belanger
(count seven). The plaintiff alleged alternative theories as
to how the alleged defect in the sidewalk was created. On the
one hand, in counts one and two (directed to VKB), count four
(directed to Shady Oaks Assisted Living), and count five
(directed to Shady Oaks Rest Home), the plaintiff alleged
that the defect "developed as a result of the settling
of one adjacent segment." On [194 Conn.App. 875] the
other hand, in count three (directed to VKB), count six
(directed to Vernon W. Belanger), and count seven (directed
to Kay F. Belanger), the plaintiff alleged, respectively,
that VKB, or its predecessor(s) in interest, Vernon W.
Belanger, and/or Kay F. Belanger, through one or more of
their agents, servants, and/or employees, constructed the
sidewalk with the resulting defect. In each of the respective
counts, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants were
responsible for keeping the abutting sidewalk in a safe
condition for the use of the public.
defendants did not move to strike any of the plaintiffs
claims. On March 12, 2018, however, the defendants filed an
amended motion for summary judgment (motion), and a
supporting memorandum of law, as to all counts of the
plaintiffs amended complaint. The motion was not accompanied
by any supporting affidavits or documentary evidence. The
defendants argued that they were entitled to judgment as a
matter of law because (1) Bristol Code of Ordinances §
21-37 (city ordinance) shifts only the duty
of repairing an abutting sidewalk from the municipality to an
abutting landowner and does not shift liability for injuries
resulting from an unsafe condition of the sidewalk, (2) there
is no common-law duty owed by abutting landowners to the
public for sidewalk defects, and (3) there is no evidence,
and the plaintiff ...