Court sets hearing on $41.5M verdict over student’s illness

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Hotchkiss School

HARTFORD  — The Connecticut Supreme Court has set a hearing on a $41.5 million jury award to the family of a private boarding school student who contracted a tick-born disease during a school trip to China.

Justices have scheduled arguments for March 27.

A federal court jury in Bridgeport issued the award in 2013 against the Hotchkiss School in Salisbury, saying it was negligent in failing to warn student Cara Munn about the risk of insect-borne illnesses in China and in failing to use protective measures. She contracted encephalitis in 2007, leaving her brain damaged and unable to speak.

The school appealed to a federal appeals court, which asked the state Supreme Court to weigh in on whether state policy requires schools to warn and protect against insect-borne diseases for trips abroad.