Hull v. Newtown

*********************************************** The “officially released” date that appears near the be- ginning of each opinion is the date the opinion will be pub- lished in the Connecticut Law Journal or the date it was released as a slip opinion. The operative date for the be- ginning of all time periods for filing postopinion motions and petitions for certification is the “officially released” date appearing in the opinion. All opinions are subject to modification and technical correction prior to official publication in the Connecticut Reports and Connecticut Appellate Reports. In the event of discrepancies between the advance release version of an opinion and the latest version appearing in the Connecticut Law Journal and subsequently in the Connecticut Reports or Connecticut Appellate Reports, the latest version is to be considered authoritative. The syllabus and procedural history accompanying the opinion as it appears in the Connecticut Law Journal and bound volumes of official reports are copyrighted by the Secretary of the State, State of Connecticut, and may not be reproduced and distributed without the express written permission of the Commission on Official Legal Publica- tions, Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut. *********************************************** ANDREW HULL ET AL. v. TOWN OF NEWTOWN (SC 19656) Rogers, C. J., and Palmer, Eveleigh, McDonald, Robinson, Vertefeuille and Espinosa, Js.* Syllabus The plaintiffs, A and his wife, sought to recover damages for personal injuries that A sustained when he was shot by L, a patient at the hospital where A was employed as a nurse. An officer with the Newtown Police Depart- ment had arranged for L to be transported to the hospital after L approached the officer and complained that he was experiencing audi- tory hallucinations and shortness of breath. Without searching L, the officer took him into involuntary custody and arranged for him to be transported to the hospital pursuant to a civil mental health commitment statute (§ 17a-503 [a]). The plaintiffs alleged that the officer had a minis- terial, nondiscretionary duty to search L pursuant to the police depart- ment’s arrest policy, which provided that officers must conduct a search of any person arrested, and defined ‘‘arrest’’ as the taking of a person into custody. The defendant, the town of Newtown, moved for summary judgment, claiming, inter alia, that it was immune from liability pursuant to statute (§ 52-557n) because any duty to search L was discretionary, and, because L was not in custody pursuant to the arrest policy, there was no duty to search him. The trial court denied the town’s motion. Thereafter, in response to the plaintiffs’ motion for a ruling as to whether ‘‘custody’’ under § 17a-503 (a) equated to arrest under the arrest policy, the trial court concluded that taking a person into custody pursuant to § 17a-503 (a) was not an arrest and that L was not arrested under the arrest policy. The town filed a second motion for summary judgment, contending that the police had no duty to search L because he had not been arrested under the arrest policy or under ...

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