Haynes v. City of MiddletownAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff, individually and as the parent and next friend of her minor son, brought this action against the City of Middletown, alleging that her son had been injured when he was pushed into the edge of a broken locker at Middletown High School. Defendant raised as a special defense that it was immune from liability. The jury ultimately rendered a verdict in favor of Plaintiffs. The trial court, however, granted Defendant’s motion to set aside the verdict and to render judgment for Defendant on the ground of governmental immunity. The Appellate Court affirmed on the alternative ground that Plaintiffs had not pleaded the imminent harm to identifiable persons exception in its reply to Defendant’s special defense. The Supreme Court reversed. On remand, The Appellate Court concluded that the trial court properly determined, on the basis of the arguments the parties had originally presented on appeal, that there was sufficient evidence of imminent harm to the student. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a properly instructed jury could reasonably conclude that Defendant’s conduct had subjected an identifiable person to imminent harm; and (2) because the jury was not instructed that it was required to make this finding, a new trial was required.