Katherine E. Rule

Partner

Profile

As a part of the firm’s public entity defense group, Katherine appears in state and federal courts throughout Connecticut, including both state and federal appellate courts, representing public officials, law enforcement officers, boards of education, land use commissions, firefighters, emergency response personnel and all other municipal employees.  She defends general and professional liability claims, including negligence, nuisance, highway defect, environmental and all civil rights claims, including claims brought under 42 U.S.C 1983, Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 Rehabilitation Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and others.

Katherine practiced civil litigation in Boston prior to joining the firm.

Representative Matters

Arrigoni Enterprises, LLC v. Town of Durham

Arrigoni Enterprises, LLC v. Town of Durham, 629 F. App’x 23 (2d Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 1409, 194 L. Ed. 2d 821 (2016): Affirming judgment in favor of the municipality pursuant to Town’s arguments that the plaintiff’s inverse condemnation claim was unripe, plaintiff lacked a constitutionally cognizable property interest in a special development permit, proper exclusion of plaintiff’s untimely submitted comparator evidence, and the Town’s regulation barring plaintiff’s proposed rock crushing activities was not unconstitutionally vague as applied to plaintiff.

Dimiceli v. Town of Cheshire

Dimiceli v. Town of Cheshire, 163 Conn. App. 190 (2016): Plaintiff was injured after a hard landing on an old style see-saw in a public playground. Plaintiff sued Town of Cheshire for negligent inspection and maintenance, failure to provide fall protection beneath the see-saw, and failure to comply with Consumer Product Safety Commission Guidelines. Town raised governmental immunity as a defense, arguing that inspection and maintenance responsibilities involve discretionary acts; and that the CPSC guidelines are recommendations, not mandatory. Trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Town, and the Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed the decision.

Cais v. East Haddam (USCA – 2013)

Cais v. East Haddam (USCA – 2013): Plaintiff filed a civil rights complaint against the Town of East Haddam and its building official and fire chief relating to the Town’s actions following a fire at his home that burned structure to the ground. Plaintiff alleged due process and takings claims against the fire chief and the building official. District Court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to all counts and Second Circuit affirmed the decision.

Varricchio v. Chalecki (USCA – 2017)

Varricchio v. Chalecki (USCA – 2017): Plaintiff filed federal complaint against Town of Franklin’s zoning official alleging constitutional violations related to cease and desist letters sent to the owner of the property by defendant. District Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment ruling that almost all of the plaintiff’s claims failed due to jurisdictional defects, and remaining claims failed on their merits.. Second Circuit affirmed the decision.

Chen v. Young (USDC – 2014)

Chen v. Young (USDC – 2014): Summary judgment granted in favor of Defendant Roger Young, a former lieutenant with the New Haven Police Department, on Plaintiff’s claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for denial of access to court arising from Plaintiff’s unsuccessful efforts to obtain records from the NHPD related to its criminal investigation of an auto accident in which Plaintiff was seriously injured after the tires of her vehicle were slashed. District Court ruled that Plaintiff’s knowledge of the suspects’ names and motivation for sabotage was fatal to her denial of access claim.

Corey v. Town of East Hartford (USDC – 2016)

Corey v. Town of East Hartford (USDC – 2016): Plaintiff’s civil rights complaint against the Defendants Town of East Haddam, Town First Selectman Mark Walter and Officer Mark Creighton, State Trooper Patrick Hawes, and neighbors Patricia Williams and George W. Crouch, Jr., alleged false arrest, Fourth Amendment search and seizure violations, conspiracy, malicious prosecution, assault, battery, trespass, defamation, conspiracy, a general negligence claim, as well as negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. The suit was filed by Plaintiff as a result of numerous false complaints of violations allegedly made by his neighbors stemming from property disputes over a shared driveway. The Town Defendants moved for summary judgment as to all claims arguing that Plaintiff’s claims failed as a matter of law, were barred by the relevant statute of limitations, and the individually named Town defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Town Defendants as to all counts.

Francini v. Town of East Haddam (USDC – 2017)

Francini v. Town of East Haddam (USDC – 2017): Plaintiff alleged an unfair application of the zoning regulations seeking declaratory relief, alleging that the failure to permit him to use his property year-round violated state and federal law, a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the regulations prohibiting him from using his property are applied in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and a stand-alone violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, alleging that the regulations constitute an unconstitutional taking without just compensation. The Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction stating the case was not ripe under Williamson Cty. Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985) as the Town zoning board did not render final decision. The District Court agreed and dismissed Plaintiff’s federal and state law claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Golodner v. Kenyon (USDC – 2017)

Golodner v. Kenyon (USDC – 2017): Plaintiff’s one-count complaint against Groton Town police officers alleged discriminatory animus based on gender in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment right of equal protection. The case stems from a Superior Court-issued criminal protective order that expressly prohibited Plaintiff’s ex-girlfriend from, among other things, harassing or interfering with Plaintiff. Subsequently, and in direct violation of the protective order, the ex-girlfriend repeatedly filed false complaints against Plaintiff with the Groton town police department. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed multiple complaints with the Groton town police providing a copy of the Order of Protection and detailed information concerning the violation by the ex-girlfriend. Plaintiff alleged that the officers refused to take any enforcement action against the ex-girlfriend and refused to investigate Plaintiff’s complaints and he believed that this amounted to Defendants taking his claims less seriously than claims from similarly situated women and that this treatment was motivated by discriminatory animus based on gender in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment right of equal protection. Defendants moved for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity, arguing that the undisputed material facts show that Defendant officers did not discriminate against Plaintiff on the basis of his gender. The District Court agreed and granted summary judgment as to all Defendants ruling that Plaintiff’s claims failed as a matter of law and that Defendants are protected by the doctrine of qualified immunity.

Henderson v. Anderson (State Court – 2015)

Henderson v. Anderson (State Court – 2015): Plaintiff alleged common-law negligence and deprivation of rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as a result of damage to Plaintiff’s property caused by excavation work performed at an adjoining property pursuant to a permit issued by Defendants. Complaint was removed to federal court by Defendants where their motion for judgment on the pleadings was granted by the Court as to Plaintiff’s § 1983 claims. Upon remand to state court, Defendants moved to dismiss the remaining negligence claim arguing that Plaintiff had no standing to bring this action and is precluded by the doctrine of collateral estoppel from re-litigating the issue of standing. Absent opposition and on the merits of the motion, the Court granted the motion to dismiss.

Henderson v. Anderson (USDC – 2015)

Henderson v. Anderson (USDC – 2015): Plaintiff alleged common-law negligence and deprivation of rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as a result of damage to Plaintiff’s property caused by excavation work performed at an adjoining property pursuant to a permit issued by Defendants. The complaint, originally filed in state court, was removed to federal court by the Defendants and they moved for judgment on the pleadings. The District Court granted the motion as to Plaintiff’s § 1983 claims, and remanded the remaining negligence claim back to state court.

Henderson v. City of Meriden (USDC – 2013)

Henderson v. City of Meriden (USDC – 2013): Plaintiffs alleged violations of their constitutional rights and breach of contract by Defendants concerning a Stipulated Judgment entered in a Connecticut State Court action regarding the purchase and sale of a certain piece of property and the operation of an adult business. Defendants moved for summary judgment as to all claims. The District Court granted partial summary judgment in favor of Defendants as to Plaintiff’s constitutional claims, and dismissed the action as to the remaining state-law breach of contract claim declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).

Pompei East Hartford, LLC v. Town of East Hartford (USDC – 2015)

Pompei East Hartford, LLC v. Town of East Hartford (USDC – 2015): Plaintiffs asserted constitutional causes of action under the First, Fifth and Fourteenth amendments sounding in claims of regulatory taking and equal protection. The case involved East Hartford property owned by Plaintiff that was also at issue in a prior land use dispute between an adult business and the Town. Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiffs’ claims stating that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claims because the Plaintiffs had never made an application to the Town for use of the property to the Town and, consequently, the Town had neither accepted or rejected any proposals. As a result, the Plaintiff failed to satisfy the ripeness test annunciated by the United States Supreme Court in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank, 473 U.S. 172, 194, 105 S. Ct. 3108, 87 L. Ed. 2d 126 (1985). The District Court agreed and dismissed plaintiffs’ complaint.

Q-Lungian v. Town of Windsor Locks (USDC – 2017)

Q-Lungian v. Town of Windsor Locks (USDC – 2017): Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants violated their First Amendment rights by denying their zoning applications to allow for topless dancing entertainment at their pool hall and restaurant. Summary judgment was entered in favor of Defendants.

Youngs v. Fusaro (USDC – 2016)

Youngs v. Fusaro (USDC – 2016): Plaintiff sued members of the City of Norwich Police Department, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, alleging they deprived him of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by conducting a warrantless search of his business and by revoking his vendor’s permit for his hot dog cart without due process. Defendants moved for summary judgment on the merits or, alternatively, on the ground of qualified immunity. The District Court granted summary judgment ruling that there was no genuine dispute of material fact that a Fourth Amendment violation occurred, no process was due to the plaintiff, no § 1983 conspiracy existed, and that the Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. Plaintiff’s appeal to Second Circuit was dismissed due to his failure to pay the filing fee.

Schand v. City of Hartford (USDC – MA – 2016)

Schand v. City of Hartford (USDC – MA – 2016): Plaintiff’s suit against the City of Springfield and various employees of the City of Springfield, as well as the City of Hartford and unnamed “John Doe” supervisory employees of the City of Hartford seeking damages based upon a 27-year term of imprisonment that Plaintiff suffered as a result of a conviction for murder and other crimes that he alleged he did not commit. City of Hartford Defendants moved to dismiss and the Court granted the motion finding that Plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege supervisory and Monell claims against City of Hartford.

Beeman v. Town of Stratford (State Court – 2015)

Beeman v. Town of Stratford (State Court – 2015): Plaintiff alleged negligence and nuisance after falling at a playground at a local elementary school as a result of a hole in the ground where woodchips and grass surrounding the playscape met. Defendant Stratford Public Schools moved for summary judgment pleading governmental immunity, asserting there were no mandatory policies or procedures associated with maintenance of the public playground and that Plaintiff was not an identifiable victim subject to imminent harm. Plaintiff responded that there were mandatory guidelines set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act, the American Society for Testing & Measurements and the Consumer Product Safety Commission Playground Handbook. Plaintiff also asserted there were internal mandatory policies requiring inspection and maintenance of the parks and playgrounds, as well as town ordinances regarding the maintenance of blighted premises. Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants holding that the general requirements for safe upkeep were not sufficient to defeat governmental immunity. Only a mandate as to the specific manner in which an inspection or maintenance should occur would suffice to defeat discretionary act immunity. Court also found that Plaintiff was not an identifiable victim subject to imminent harm given that no town employee was aware of her presence in the playground and it was not “apparent to the municipal defendant that a dangerous condition was so likely to cause harm that the defendant had a clear and unequivocal duty to act immediately to prevent the harm.” Court further held that the condition of the property did not constitute a public nuisance, given that the dangerous condition did not result from the “positive act” of the municipality.

Darcy v. Plainville School District (State Court – 2017)

Darcy v. Plainville School District (State Court – 2017): Plaintiff alleged negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of the Defendants’ handling of an investigation into the Plaintiff’s residency and whether she met requirements to receive education in Plainville. Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants finding that they are entitled to governmental and absolute immunity and that claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress does not rise to the level of extreme and outrageous.

Dlugokenski v. City of Bristol (State Court – 2014)

Dlugokenski v. City of Bristol (State Court – 2014): Plaintiffs’67-count suit brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985 (3)3, and 1988, sought damages and redress for the deprivation, under the color of state law, of rights guaranteed by the fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendments to the US Constitution and the article first, § 7, of the Connecticut Constitution against the City of Bristol and its employees resulting from the condemnation and demolition of Plaintiff’s property. The Court granted Defendants’ moved for summary judgment as to all counts.

Palmieri v. Town of Trumbull (State Court – 2014)

Palmieri v. Town of Trumbull (State Court – 2014): Plaintiff filed a Highway Defect negligence suit after falling (while walking backwards) on a road in the Town of Trumbull alleging that his fall was caused by a defective and dangerous condition consisting of a collapsed portion of the roadway. Plaintiff alleged there were no work cones, barriers, wooden horses or signs giving Plaintiff or the public fair warning of the condition, and that he exercised due care. Defendant moved for summary judgment arguing that the Plaintiff was unable to establish that he or the co-defendants were free from contributing to his injuries, and was unable to prevail on his claim that the Town breached its statutory duty owed to the Plaintiff pursuant to General Statutes §13a-149. Absent opposition and on the merits of the motion, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Town ruling that Plaintiff would not only have to prove that he was not contributorily negligent, but also that neither Co-Defendant had any contributing negligence.