Attorneys Michael Ryan and Jonathan Zellner Obtain Summary Judgment in Case Involving Fall at Municipal Transfer Station

November 6, 2020

On November 6, 2020, Attorneys Michael Ryan and Jonathan Zellner obtained summary judgment on the basis of governmental immunity in a lawsuit arising out of a trip-and-fall accident at a municipal transfer station.  The plaintiff allegedly tripped and fell over a traffic cone while disposing of solid waste at the transfer station, suffering injury.  She thereafter sued the municipality, claiming that it was negligent in the placement of the traffic cone.


Attorneys Ryan and Zellner moved for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s claim, arguing that governmental immunity barred the claim.  The plaintiff opposed the motion, claiming that immunity did not apply because the defendant limited use of the transfer station to residents of the town and that the operation of the transfer station was therefore a proprietary activity abrogating immunity.  The court, Honorable Robert Genuario, granted the defendant’s motion, finding that the limitation on who could use the transfer station did not render the activity proprietary because the facility provided a convenient and efficient location for the disposal of solid waste.  Similarly, the plaintiff did not contest that the cost of operating the facility far exceeded revenues generated in connection with its operation.  Finding that the operation of the transfer station was not proprietary, and thus that governmental immunity applied, and that no exceptions to immunity were applicable, the court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.