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.

Administrative Appeal Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4287

SC20466 - Burton v. Dept. of Environmental Protection (Environmental Protection; Nuclear Power; Whether Administrative Proceeding Concerning Renewal of Millstone's Wastewater Discharge Permit was Conducted in Violation of Connecticut Environmental Protection Act and Clean Water Act; "This case comes to us for the third time following lengthy and highly contested litigation. The plaintiff, Nancy Burton, brought an action under the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act of 1971 (CEPA), General Statutes § 22a-14 et seq., against the defendants, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc., and an administrative appeal under General Statutes § 4-183 (a) against the defendants, the Department of Environmental Protection and Dominion. The actions, now consolidated, claim, in part, that the operation of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station (plant), which is owned and operated by Dominion, is causing unreasonable pollution of the waters of the state in violation of CEPA. Specifically, the plaintiff challenged the department's decision to issue a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit to Dominion to authorize the intake and discharge of water by the plant, claiming that the permit renewal proceeding was inadequate to protect the rights recognized by CEPA. The trial court previously dismissed the plaintiff's CEPA action for lack of standing, which this court reversed in Burton v. Commissioner of Environmental Protection, 291 Conn. 789, 970 A.2d 640 (2009) (Burton I). Thereafter, the trial court again dismissed the plaintiff's CEPA action, this time concluding that the action was moot because the permit renewal proceeding had terminated. This court reversed that decision in Burton v. Commissioner of Environmental Protection, 323 Conn. 668, 150 A.3d 666 (2016) (Burton II). On remand from Burton II, the trial court conducted a hearing on the merits of the plaintiff's CEPA claim and administrative appeal and rendered judgments in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff now appeals from those judgments, claiming, among other things, that the trial court incorrectly concluded that she failed to prove that the administrative proceeding was inadequate and the operation of the plant would result in unreasonable pollution.

Although the plaintiff's brief appears to assert six arguments, they are not clearly articulated, and they are more properly distilled into four claims. First, the plaintiff argues that the trial court incorrectly concluded that she failed to establish that the administrative proceeding was inadequate to protect the rights recognized by CEPA. Second, the plaintiff argues that the trial court improperly held that she failed to establish that unreasonable pollution would result from the plant's operation. Third, the plaintiff argues that the trial court incorrectly concluded that the department's BTA determination did not violate the Clean Water Act. Finally, the plaintiff argues that the trial court violated this court's remand order in Burton II by failing to follow the prescribed two step proceeding. The defendants argue that the plaintiff has inadequately briefed all of her claims. They also argue, in the alternative, that the trial court's procedures and substantive holdings were proper. We agree with the defendants that the majority of the plaintiff's claims are inadequately briefed, and we conclude that those claims that are adequately briefed lack merit.

The judgments are affirmed.")



Connecticut Law Journal - January 19, 2021

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4285

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXII, No. 29, for January 19, 2021 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 336: Orders (Pages 903 - 905)
  • Volume 336: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 202: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 234 - 314)
  • Volume 202: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 901 - 903)
  • Volume 202: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4284

SC20302 - State v. Bischoff (Possession of narcotics in violation of General Statutes § 21a-279; Whether Appellate Court Properly Held that Public Act Reducing Punishment for Possession of Narcotics in Violation of General Statutes § 21a-279 Does not Apply Retroactively; Whether Supreme Court Should Apply Amelioration Doctrine; "In 2015, our legislature amended General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) § 21a-279 (a) to reclassify a first offense for possession of narcotics from a class D felony subject to a maximum sentence of imprisonment of seven years to a class A misdemeanor subject to a maximum sentence of one year of incarceration. Public Acts, Spec. Sess., June, 2015, No. 15-2, § 1 (Spec. Sess. P.A. 15-2). This legislative action reflected a change in public policy that emphasized treatment and rehabilitation over incarceration for those convicted of possessing controlled substances. In this certified appeal, we are asked to determine whether the legislature's action applies retroactively to criminal cases pending at the time the amendment became effective.

The defendant, Haji Jhmalah Bischoff, was arrested and charged with, among other crimes, possession of narcotics in violation of § 21a-279 (a) prior to the enactment of Spec. Sess. P.A. 15-2, § 1. He was not convicted and sentenced, however, until after the amendment's enactment. The defendant claims that both the trial court and the Appellate Court incorrectly determined that Spec. Sess. P.A. 15-2, § 1, does not apply retroactively, and, thus, he claims that the sentence imposed on him was illegal, as it exceeded the maximum sentence allowed under § 21a-279 (a) as amended. Specifically, he claims that (1) although the plain language of Spec. Sess. P.A. 15-2, § 1, does not mention retroactivity, a prospective-only application of the amendment would lead to an absurd or unworkable result when viewed in the context of Public Acts 2015, No. 15-244 (P.A. 15-244), the state budget bill that Spec. Sess. P.A. 15-2, § 1, was meant to implement, and (2) alternatively, this court should overrule State v. Kalil, 314 Conn. 529, 107 A.3d 343 (2014), and adopt the amelioration doctrine, which presumes that amendments to statutes that mitigate punishment apply retroactively. We disagree with the defendant on both accounts and affirm the Appellate Court's judgment.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4283

AC42555 - Meyers v. Middlefield (Administrative appeal; employment termination pursuant to statute (§ 20-260); "The plaintiff, Robert Meyers, appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing his administrative appeal from the unanimous decision of the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Middlefield (board) to terminate his employment as the statutory building official for the defendant, the town of Middlefield (town). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that the decision to terminate his employment was supported by substantial evidence in the record and (2) upheld the decision of the board to terminate the plaintiff's employment because the decision violated public policy. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court.")

AC42845 - Vogue v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act (Unemployment compensation; whether trial court properly dismissed appeal from decision of Employment Security Board of Review; "The plaintiff, Vogue, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the defendant, the Administrator of the Unemployment Compensation Act, dismissing the plaintiff's appeal from the decision of the Board of Review of the Employment Security Appeals Division (board). The board had affirmed the decision of an appeals referee of the Employment Security Appeals Division (appeals division), who had affirmed the decision made by the defendant, following an audit of the plaintiff, that the plaintiff was liable for unpaid unemployment compensation contributions under the Unemployment Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-222 et seq., with respect to one of its employees. The primary issue in this appeal is whether the court improperly interpreted and applied part B of the so-called "ABC test" of the act, which governs whether an employment relationship exists for purposes of the act. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4282

AC44096 - In re Josiah D. (“On appeal, the father does not challenge the trial court’s findings and conclusions but claims that (1) the court committed reversible error by failing to notify him that it would be drawing an adverse inference from his decision not to testify in accordance with Practice Book § 35a-7A and In re Samantha C., 268 Conn. 614, 847 A.2d 883 (2004), and (2) this court should exercise its supervisory authority to adopt a canvass requiring the trial court to notify the father that the court would draw an adverse inference upon his decision not to testify. The petitioner counters that the court properly notified the father in accordance with Practice Book § 35a-7A, but if this court determines that the court’s notice was improper, the error was harmless, as it did not adversely affect the outcome of the trial. We conclude that the court properly notified the father that it may draw an adverse inference from his decision not to testify and decline the father’s invitation to exercise our supervisory authority to require any notice beyond what is required by Practice Book § 35a-7A. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


Connecticut Law Journal - January 12, 2021

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4281

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXII, No. 28, for January 12, 2021 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 202: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 106 - 233)
  • Volume 8228: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


New Process: Resolution Plan Date for Divorce, Custody and Visitation Cases

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4280

The Judicial Branch has published a notice regarding changes to some types of family matters cases: What to Expect on the Resolution Plan Date in your Divorce, Custody or Visitation Case.

As of January, 2021, Connecticut has a new process for custody, visitation, dissolution of marriage, and legal separation cases. It was developed with the help of the National Center for State Courts based on research and experience in other states. The process is designed to encourage parties to concentrate on resolving their cases by agreement, instead of engaging in lengthy litigation. It seeks to give each case the level of court resources it needs sooner than was possible under the old process, and reduce the number of necessary court appearances.

The Judcial Branch Law Libraries have Connecticut Law by Subject pages with more information on Divorce, Child Custody and Visitation, and Legal Separation.


Habeas Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4279

SC20281 - Ross v. Commissioner of Correction (“The petitioner claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the doctrine of collateral estoppel barred him from litigating the issue of whether he was prejudiced by his trial counsel’s failure to object to the improper comments of the prosecutor during closing argument at his criminal trial. The respondent, the Commissioner of Correction, argues that the Appellate Court correctly held that the doctrine precluded the petitioner from litigating the issue of prejudice. In the alternative, the respondent contends that the judgment of the Appellate Court may be affirmed on the basis that the petitioner has failed to demonstrate that he suffered prejudice from his criminal trial counsel’s allegedly deficient performance. Although we conclude that the doctrine of collateral estoppel does not apply under the circumstances of the present case, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court on the ground that the petitioner has failed to demonstrate prejudice.”)


Connecticut General Assembly 2021 Regular Session

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4278

The Connecticut General Assembly 2021 Regular Session began January 6th and adjourns June 9th. To read about the issues that may be addressed in the current session, see the Office of Legislative Research Special Report, Major Issues 2021 Legislative Session. Do note the following language from the report's introductory material:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the regular 2020 legislative session was effectively suspended on March 12 until it was adjourned sine die on May 6. The pandemic is anticipated to continue well into2021 and will likely necessitate a number of significant logistical changes to the legislative process (e.g.,virtual committee meetings).At this time,it is unclear what impact, if any, these changes will have on the substance and volume of legislation. In light of the circumstances, we especially caution readers not to interpret this document as a potential session agenda. Rather, the topics we have identified, apart from those directly related to the pandemic, are those that we believe would be applicable under normal circumstances.


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4277

AC39890, AC40558 - Indoor Billboard Northwest, Inc. v. M2 Systems Corp. ("In Docket No. AC 39890, the defendant appeals from the judgment of the trial court with respect to the unjust enrichment cause of action brought by the plaintiffs. The defendant claims that the court erred in the following ways: (1) by awarding damages to a person who was neither a plaintiff in the underlying action nor a nonparty who had assigned his interest to a plaintiff in the underlying action; (2) by determining that the defendant was not entitled to a setoff; (3) by rejecting its special defense of judicial estoppel; (4) by finding that the note executed by the defendant in favor of a third party had been amended; (5) by finding that the defendant had been unjustly enriched as a result of the plaintiffs' funds; (6) by finding that cross-traded subnotes, which had been exchanged between some of the plaintiffs' accounts, had unjustly enriched the defendant; (7) by finding that the defendant's loan obligation to a third party was satisfied in part with the use of the plaintiffs' funds; and (8) by finding that the plaintiffs had satisfied in part the defendant's debt obligation to a third party despite the fact that the debt was not discharged pursuant to the terms of the note at issue.

Docket No. AC 40558 is the plaintiffs' appeal from the court's decision denying their postverdict motion for attorney's fees. In their appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred by denying their motion for attorney's fees and expenses after rendering judgment in their favor with respect to their unjust enrichment cause of action. We agree with the first claim raised by the defendant in Docket No. AC 39890 and, consequently, reverse the portion of the judgment that is the subject of that claim. With respect to the remainder of the claims raised by the defendant in Docket No. AC 39890 and the claim raised by the plaintiffs in Docket No. AC 40558, we affirm the judgment and the decision of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4275

AC43794 - Jan G. v. Semple ("The self-represented plaintiff, Jan G., appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his action against the defendants, state employees of the Department of Correction (department). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over (1) his claims against the defendants in their individual capacities on the basis of statutory immunity pursuant to General Statutes § 4-165, and (2) his claims against the defendants in their official capacities on the basis of the doctrine of sovereign immunity. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4276

AC42774 - A & R Enterprises, LLC v. Sentinel Ins. Co., Ltd. ("In this action seeking recovery of the cost to repair a motor vehicle that was damaged in an accident, the plaintiff, A & R Enterprises, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a court trial, denying its claim for the full cost of the repairs on the ground that the insured, Creative Electric, LLC (insured), which assigned its rights to the plaintiff, failed to comply with the voluntary payment provision of the insurance policy pursuant to which the plaintiff sought recovery from the defendant, Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred by (1) concluding that the recovery of the full cost of the repairs was precluded by the insured's failure to comply with the voluntary payment provision and (2) rejecting its claim that the defendant's reliance on that provision constituted an improper attempt to steer the insured to the defendant's preferred auto body repair shop in violation of General Statutes § 38a-354 (b). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4274

SC20391 - State v. Imperiale (Illegal possession of child pornography in the second degree; Violation of Probation; "The defendant, Joseph Louis Imperiale, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, Danaher, J., revoking his probation and sentencing him to an effective term of imprisonment of two years. He claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to dismiss the violation of probation charge because the condition of probation on which the charge was predicated, namely, that he participate in an inpatient sex offender treatment program, violated his fourteenth amendment rights to due process and equal protection, as well as the constitutional prohibition against the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Connecticut Judicial Branch Biennial Report and Statistics, 2018-2020

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4273

The Connecticut Judicial Branch Biennial Report and Statistics for 2018 - 2020 is titled Opportunity Amid Crisis: Responding to the Challenge of COVID-19 and Beyond, and is available on the Judicial Branch website. The publication highlights new initiatives taken on by the Branch, gives basic information on the structure and function of the courts and administrative divisions and summarizes noteworthy cases handled by the CT Supreme and Appellate Courts during the two year period. The Statistical Overview provides basic facts and numbers on case movement for civil, family, juvenile, criminal, small claims and housing matters.

  • Posted in:
  • FYI


Connecticut Law Journal - January 5, 2021

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4271

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXII, No. 27, for January 5, 2021 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 336: Orders (Pages 901 - 903)
  • Volume 336: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 202: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 54 - 105)
  • Volume 202: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4269

AC44120 - In re November H. (Connecticut General Statute § 17a-112 (j) (3); whether father lacked normal and healthy parent-child bond with child; “On appeal, the respondent claims that (1) the court made internally inconsistent statements regarding his parent-child relationship with November, (2) there was insufficient evidence supporting the court’s determination that he failed to sufficiently rehabilitate, (3) as a matter of law, the court, in terminating his parental rights, improperly relied on its finding that additional time was necessary for him and November to develop a ‘‘normal and healthy’’ parent-child relationship when the petitioner and November’s mother, Natachia G., interfered with his ability to develop such a relationship, and (4) the court improperly compared him to November’s foster parent in the adjudicatory part of its decision. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4270

SC20106 - State v. Angel M. (Sentencing; Whether Defendant Penalized for Maintaining his Innocence at Sentencing Hearing; Whether Consideration of Defendant's Refusal to Admit Guilt Violates Right Against Self-Incrimination. "Following a jury trial, the defendant, Angel M., was convicted of sexually assaulting the twelve year old daughter of his romantic partner and sentenced to a total effective prison term of thirty-three years. The defendant appealed to the Appellate Court, claiming, among other things, that the trial court had violated his right to due process at sentencing by penalizing him for refusing to apologize for his criminal misconduct. See State v. Angel M., 180 Conn. App. 250,253, 286, 183 A.3d 636 (2018). According to the defendant, who maintained his innocence both at trial and at the time of sentencing, the trial court’s enhancement of his sentence for that reason was fundamentally unfair because it contravened his constitutional right against self-incrimination insofar as any such apology necessarily would have required him to admit guilt. See id., 286–88. The Appellate Court rejected the defendant’s claim, concluding that the record did not support his contention that the trial court had increased his sentence because of his unwillingness to issue an apology to the victims; see id., 290–91; and we granted the defendant’s petition for certification to appeal. See State v. Angel M., 328 Conn. 931, 182 A.3d 1192 (2018). We agree with the Appellate Court and, accordingly, affirm its judgment.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4267

AC42140 - Figueroa v. Commissioner of Correction (“On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court erred by concluding that (1) he failed to sustain his burden of establishing prejudice caused by his trial counsel’s failure to request an alibi instruction, (2) he failed to sustain his burden of establishing prejudice caused by his appellate counsel’s failure to argue on direct appeal that his constitutional right to a trial by jury was violated, and (3) his claim that his constitutional right to a trial by jury was violated was procedurally defaulted. We affirm the judgment of the habeas court.”)