The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=526

AC38206 - State v. Purcell (Risk of injury to child; "The defendant, Robert John Purcell, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, of conviction of one count of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1) and of two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2). The jury found the defendant not guilty of one count of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (1), two counts of sexual assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-71 (a) (1), and one count of risk of injury to a child in violation of § 53-21 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant raises various claims pertaining to testimony by the victim's mother that the victim had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD testimony) and the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress statements that he made to the police during a custodial interrogation. With respect to the PTSD testimony, the defendant claims that allowing the victim's mother to testimony about his medical conditions constituted a harmful evidentiary error, which was based on the PTSD testimony. With respect to his motion to suppress, the defendant claims that the interrogating detectives violated Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S. Ct. 1880, 68 L. Ed. 2d 378 (1981), by continuing to question him after he clearly and unambiguously invoked his right to counsel. Alternatively, the defendant argues that, even if his invocations were ambiguous or equivocal, and therefore ineffective under Edwards, article first, § 8, of the Connecticut constitution required the interrogating detectives to clarify his statements before questioning him further. We reject the defendant's claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=529

SC19671 - Barton v. Norwalk (Inverse condemnation; "In this certified appeal, the defendant, the city of Norwalk, appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the trial court awarding the plaintiff Robert Barton $899,480 in damages plus prejudgment interest for his claim that the defendant inversely condemned a parcel of real property located at 70 South Main Street in Norwalk (70 South Main) by taking, through the power of eminent domain, the plaintiff's parking lot located across the street at 65 South Main Street (65 South Main). See Barton v. Norwalk, 163 Conn. App. 190, 193–94, 135 A.3d 711 (2016). The defendant raises two claims in the present appeal. First, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly affirmed the judgment of the trial court that the plaintiff had proven inverse condemnation because 70 South Main retains significant value and generates significant income. Second, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the plaintiff's inverse condemnation claim was not barred by judicial estoppel. We disagree with the defendant and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=530

AC38693 - EH Investment Co., LLC v. Chappo LLC ("The defendants, Chappo LLC and its principal, Richard J. Chappo, appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, EH Investment Company, LLC, on those counts of the complaint alleging breach of contract by Chappo LLC and conversion by both defendants. The court determined that the defendants, whom the plaintiff had engaged to find a lender willing to make a commercial loan that the plaintiff needed in order to redeem a foreclosed office building it had owned, improperly refused to return the plaintiff’s deposit after the plaintiff informed them that it would be unable to proceed with a loan because it had not obtained a lease extension from the building’s primary tenant, the proceeds from which were intended to service the debt on the loan. The trial court determined that the existence of an executed lease with the tenant was a condition precedent to the parties’ loan procurement contract, the nonoccurrence of which excused the plaintiff’s performance and required Chappo LLC to return the plaintiff’s deposit. The court awarded the plaintiff total damages of $47,500, the amount of the deposit.

The defendants claim on appeal that the trial court improperly determined that the existence of a lease extension was a condition precedent to the parties’ contract. According to the defendants, the terms of the parties’ contract were memorialized in a written engagement letter drafted by Chappo, and Chappo LLC successfully performed its only duty under the parties’ contract by successfully finding a lender willing to make a loan on the terms sought by the plaintiff as set forth in the engagement letter. Further, they contend that because the engagement letter unambiguously set forth express terms governing the disposition of the engagement deposit, which did not include any provision requiring Chappo LLC to return the deposit if the plaintiff was unable to obtain a lease after Chappo LLC procured a commitment from a lender, they were entitled to keep the plaintiff’s deposit. For the reasons that follow, we agree with the defendants. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court and remand the case to that court with direction to render judgment in favor of the defendants on the breach of contract and conversion counts. The remainder of the judgment is affirmed.")

AC38900 - American Express Bank, FSB v. Rutkowski ("The defendants, Krzysztof Rutkowski and Tri-City Trading, LLC, appeal from the judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, American Express Bank, FSB. On appeal, the defendants claim that the court improperly rendered summary judgment as to liability on the plaintiff’s claim of breach of a contractual credit agreement because the statute of frauds, General Statutes § 52-550 (a) (6), bars enforcement of the agreement. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=532

AC38462 - Crouse v. Cox (Fraud; "The judgment of dismissal is vacated. The case is remanded for further proceedings, without prejudice to the filing of a motion for summary judgment.")

AC38659 - Kurisoo v. Ziegler ("The plaintiff, Eric Kurisoo, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant Mystic Seaport Museum d/b/a Mystic Seaport. On September 20, 2013, the plaintiff was injured when the motorcycle he was operating collided with a motor vehicle operated by Harry Ziegler, who, at the time of the collision, was participating in an antique car tour sponsored by the defendant. The plaintiff initially brought this action, claiming that its direct negligence had proximately caused his injuries. Subsequently, he amended his complaint to allege, as well, that the defendant was vicariously liable for the negligence of Ziegler, who had proximately caused such injuries. The court rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendant on both of the plaintiff's claims, finding, as a matter of public policy, that it owed no duty to the plaintiff at the time of its direct or vicarious negligence. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendant on both of his claims because it based its rulings on a ground not raised in the defendant's summary judgment motions. We agree with the plaintiff, and thus reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38572 - Pronovost v. Tierney ("The plaintiff, Jamie Pronovost, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his single count, amended complaint, in which he alleged negligence against the defendant, Marisa Tierney, arising from a motor vehicle collision in Maryland. The court dismissed the plaintiff's complaint against the defendant, a nonresident of Connecticut at the time that the action was commenced, after determining that the relevant long arm statute, General Statutes § 52-59b (a) (3) (B), did not provide jurisdiction over the defendant based on the facts alleged in the complaint and in an affidavit filed by the defendant in her reply to the plaintiff's memorandum in opposition to the motion to dismiss. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in its application of § 52-59b (a) (3) (B) to the facts as pleaded in this case. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Foreclosure Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=531

AC38489 - Bank of New York Mellon v. Talbot ("In this foreclosure action, the defendant James W. Talbot appeals from the judgment of foreclosure by sale, rendered in favor of the plaintiff, The Bank of New York Mellon, formerly known as The Bank of New York, as Trustee for the Certificateholders of CWALT, Inc., Alternative Loan Trust 2007-OH3, Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2007-OH3. The defendant claims on appeal that the court abused its discretion because the judgment of foreclosure by sale was predicated on a default that had been entered in error. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=528

AC38033 - Marra v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; "On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court improperly dismissed his eighteen count petition, which alleged claims of ineffective assistance of counsel against his prior habeas attorneys, because the court improperly (1) relied on a decision of the prior habeas court deeming his withdrawal of that action as being ‘‘with prejudice’’ and (2) concluded that the deliberate bypass doctrine barred his action. We conclude that only the form of the habeas court’s judgment is improper and, accordingly, reverse the judgment on that limited ground.")


Law Library Hours Update: June 30th - July 7th

   by Dowd, Jeffrey

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=525

Friday, June 30th

  • Danbury Law Library will be closed from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • New London Law Library will be closed from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Monday, July 3rd

  • Danbury Law Library will be closed.
  • New Britain Law Library will be closed at 2:30 p.m.
  • Putnam Law Library will be closed.
  • Rockville Law Library will open at 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, July 4th

  • All Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries are closed for the holiday.

Wednesday, July 5th

  • Danbury Law Library will be open from 9;00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 6th

  • Danbury Law Library will be open from 10;00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
  • Hartford Law Library will close at 3:00 p.m.

Friday, July 7th

  • Danbury Law Library will be closed.


See our regularly scheduled hours.



Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=523

SC19575 - Channing Real Estate, LLC v. Gates ("The plaintiff, Channing Real Estate, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendant, Brian Gates, on both the plaintiff’s complaint seeking recovery on six promissory notes (notes) and on the defendant’s counterclaim alleging a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq. Channing Real Estate, LLC v. Gates, 159 Conn. App. 59, 83, 122 A.3d 677 (2015). The plaintiff, which prevailed in the Appellate Court, challenges only the scope of the court’s remand order, claiming that it improperly ordered a new trial rather than restricting the proceedings on remand to a hearing in damages. The plaintiff contends that a new trial is unnecessary because the Appellate Court’s proper application of the parol evidence rule resolved the issue of liability on the notes in favor of the plaintiff as a matter of law and because the defendant lacks standing to raise a CUTPA claim. The defendant argues that the Appellate Court correctly concluded that a new trial is necessary to allow him to pursue valid special defenses and counterclaims. We conclude that a new trial is unnecessary, and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the Appellate Court.")



Family Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=520

SC19635 - O'Brien v. O'Brien ("In this certified appeal arising from a marital dissolution action, we must determine whether a trial court properly may consider a party's violation of a court order when distributing marital property, even if the trial court finds that the violation is not contemptuous. The plaintiff, Michael J. O'Brien, filed this action to dissolve his marriage to the defendant, Kathleen E. O'Brien. During the pendency of the action, the plaintiff sold shares of stock and exercised certain stock options without first receiving permission from either the defendant or the trial court, as required by Practice Book § 25-5, which also provides that a party who fails to obey the orders automatically entered thereunder may be held in contempt of court. The trial court found that the plaintiff's transactions violated those orders but did not hold the plaintiff in contempt because the court concluded the violations were not wilful. Nevertheless, because the transactions had caused a significant loss to the marital estate, the court considered that loss when it distributed the marital property between the parties, awarding a greater than even distribution to the defendant. On appeal, the Appellate Court concluded that, in the absence of a finding of contempt, the trial court lacked the authority to afford the defendant a remedy for the plaintiff's violation of the automatic orders. See O'Brien v. O'Brien, 161 Conn. App. 575, 591, 128 A.3d 595 (2015). We thereafter granted the defendant's petition for certification to appeal, limited to the following issue: 'Did the Appellate Court correctly determine that the trial court abused its discretion when it considered the plaintiff's purported violations of the automatic orders in its decision dividing marital assets [even though the court did not hold the plaintiff in contempt of court for those violations]?' O'Brien v. O'Brien, 320 Conn. 916, 131 A.3d 751 (2016). We agree with the defendant that the trial court properly exercised its discretion in considering the plaintiff's violations of the automatic orders in its division of the marital assets, and, therefore, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=519

AC39068 - Godaire v. Dept. of Social Services (Administrative appeal; "The self-represented plaintiff, Raymond Godaire, appeals from the trial court's dismissal of his appeal from the final decision of the defendant the Department of Social Services (department). The decision appealed from discontinued the plaintiff's benefits under the department's Medical Assistance to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled program (program or Husky C) on the ground that he had not met the program's spenddown requirements. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that the transfer of his administrative appeal from the judicial district of New London to the judicial district of New Britain did not violate his due process rights by denying him reasonable access to the courts, and (2) failed to conclude that his appeal should be sustained because the hearing officer's decision was based on "faulty records" and "records changed by the department . . . ." We reverse the judgment of the trial court for the reason that substantial rights of the plaintiff have been prejudiced because the hearing officer's decision was made upon unlawful procedure. See General Statutes § 4-183 (j).")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=518

SC19790 - State v. Seeley (Forgery second degree; supervisory authority over administration of justice; "The principal issue in this appeal is whether, in a trial to the court, the state presented sufficient evidence in its case-in-chief to support the conviction of the defendant, James Seeley, of forgery in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-139 (a) (1) in connection with a document created to facilitate the purchase of a vehicle on behalf of a corporation. In challenging the sufficiency of the evidence presented, the defendant claims that we should exercise our supervisory authority over the administration of justice to abandon the waiver rule in the context of court trials, and review the trial court's denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal following the state's case-in-chief, despite the fact that he elected to introduce evidence of his own. We need not reach the defendant's claim regarding the waiver rule because we conclude that there was sufficient evidence in the state's case-in-chief to support the defendant's conviction. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Land Use Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=517

SC19665 - Brenmor Properties, LLC v. Planning & Zoning Commission ("This certified appeal requires us to consider the relationship between a town's roadway construction standards and the more flexible treatment given to development proposals made pursuant to the Affordable Housing Appeals Act, General Statutes § 8-30g. The defendant, the Planning and Zoning Commission of the Town of Lisbon (commission), appeals, upon our grant of its petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the trial court sustaining the administrative appeal of the plaintiff, Brenmor Properties, LLC. Brenmor Properties, LLC v. Planning & Zoning Commission, 162 Conn. App. 678, 680, 136 A.3d 24 (2016) . . . On appeal, the commission claims that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that (1) the commission was required to grant the plaintiff's application for subdivision approval, despite the application's lack of compliance with a municipal road ordinance (road ordinance), and (2) the trial court properly ordered the commission to approve the plaintiff's application 'as is,' rather than remand the case to the commission for consideration of potential conditions of approval. We disagree and, accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")



2017 Major Public Acts

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=515

The Office of Legislative Research (OLR) has made available the following publication:

These summaries, composed by the Office of Legislative Research (OLR), briefly describe the most significant, far-reaching, and publicly debated acts adopted by the General Assembly in its 2017 regular session.

Not all provisions of the acts are included. More detailed summaries can be found at the OLR website.




Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=512

AC37928 - Redding Life Care, LLC v. Redding ("The plaintiff in error, David R. Salinas, an appraiser, provided two opinions to banks regarding the value of a certain property. In a subsequent, unrelated tax appeal regarding that property, a party sought to compel him to testify in a deposition regarding those opinions. The issue presented in this writ of error is whether an expert, who previously has rendered an opinion on an issue material to a later, unrelated case in which neither party has engaged his services, may be compelled by subpoena to provide an opinion in that case. We hold that Connecticut recognizes a qualified testimonial privilege for unretained expert witnesses and, accordingly, we grant the writ of error and remand the case for further proceedings.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=511

AC38599 - Healey v. Haymond Law Firm, P.C. ("The defendant, The Haymond Law Firm, P.C., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, awarding its former employee, the plaintiff, Robert E. Healey, damages for unpaid wages pursuant to General Statutes § 31-72. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred by charging the jury on the amended version of § 31-72 because the amendment took effect after this action had commenced. Therefore, the defendant argues, the court was required to charge the jury on the repealed version of that statute that had been in effect at the time the alleged injuries occurred. The defendant also claims that the court’s instruction on the amended version of the statute was a clear, obvious, and indisputable error that warrants reversal under the plain error doctrine.

We conclude that the defendant’s claim is unreviewable because it induced the alleged instructional impropriety by affirmatively requesting that the court charge the jury on the amended version of § 31-72. We also conclude that plain error reversal is not warranted in this case. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


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