Supreme Court Restates Definition of "Imminent Harm" as Element of Governmental Immunity Exception

October 31, 2014

In a decision to be released on November 4, 2014, the Supreme Court of Connecticut has changed the standard for determining whether a harm was “imminent” and thus falls within one of the exceptions to governmental immunity.  Haynes v. Middletown, SC 19175 (2014).  For more than 25 years, the Supreme Court had emphasized the temporal duration of the allegedly foreseeable harm as the critical factor in “imminent harm” analysis.  Burns v. Board of Education, 228 Conn. 640 (1994); Purzycki v. Fairfield, 244 Conn. 101 (1998). In Haynes, however, the court determined that the oft-cited phrase that a risk is not imminent if it could have caused an injury “at any future time or not at all” misses the mark.  Click here to read more