Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ervin v. Hosanna Ministry, Inc. case brief

Ervin v. Hosanna Ministry, Inc. case brief summary
1995 WL 681532 (1995)

Defendants, a ministry that ran a drug treatment program and its agent, filed a motion for summary judgment in an action filed by plaintiffs, a patient and her husband, for claims of negligence, nuisance, misrepresentation, violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), specifically, Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 19a-491 and 20-74p, and loss of consortium. The ministry claimed that the patient waived her claims in a release.

The ministry admitted the patient into an alcohol and drug addiction program. During the program, the patient slipped and fell on a slippery floor. She alleged that the ministry was negligent in maintaining it premises, that it maintained a nuisance, and that the ministry's agent fraudulently misrepresented that the ministry was a drug treatment center licensed by the State of Connecticut and that he was certified as a Connecticut substance abuse counselor in violation of CUTPA. The ministry and its agent pled contributory negligence and claimed that the patient waived her right to bring any claim by signing a general release. The patient claimed that she did not remember signing the release and that she was in a diminished capacity if she did sign one.


  • The court held that there were several issues of material fact for a jury to determine such as whether the patient actually signed the general release, and whether she signed the release freely or with full comprehension. 
  • Specifically, the court held that the patient's affidavit raised a genuine issue of material fact as to her assent to the general release and whether she even had the mental capacity to execute it.

The court denied the motion for summary judgment.

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