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.

Probate Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4814

SC20280 - Day v. Seblatnigg ("The issue that we must decide in this certified appeal, broadly stated, is whether a person who has voluntarily obtained the appointment of a conservator, and thus has not been found by a court to be incapable of managing her affairs, shares joint authority with the conservator of her estate. This issue arises in the specific context of the question of whether an inter vivos trust created by a person under a voluntary conservatorship was void ab initio because the authority to create such a trust rested exclusively with the conservator of the estate under General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 45a-655.

In 2011, Susan D. Elia submitted an application to the Probate Court for voluntary representation by the named defendant, Renee F. Seblatnigg, as the conservator of her estate. The Probate Court granted the application. Thereafter, Elia created an irrevocable trust and arranged for the transfer of certain assets to it. In 2014, the plaintiff, Margaret E. Day, acting in her capacity as coconservator of Elia's estate for the limited purpose of matters related to the irrevocable trust, brought this action, seeking a judgment declaring that the trust was void ab initio because Seblatnigg, as Elia's conservator, did not create and fund the trust with the approval of the Probate Court pursuant to § 45a-655 (e). Thereafter, the trial court granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and rendered judgment for the plaintiff. The defendant, First State Fiduciaries, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company that was designated as 'the protector of the . . . irrevocable trust,' appealed from the judgment to the Appellate Court, claiming, among other things, that the trial court had incorrectly determined that Elia could not create an irrevocable trust on her own behalf while she was under a voluntary conservatorship. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. Day v. Seblatnigg, 186 Conn. App. 482, 506, 199 A.3d 1103 (2018). This certified appeal followed. We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4815

SC20531 - State v. Belcher (Criminal; Juvenile Sentencing; "The defendant, Keith Belcher, a juvenile offender, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. After his conviction, the defendant received a total effective sentence of sixty years of incarceration. He claims, inter alia, that the trial court improperly denied his motion to correct on the basis of the court’s conclusion that the sentencing court did not impose the sentence in an illegal manner by relying on materially false information.

Our review of the record reveals that the defendant established that the sentencing court substantially relied on materially false information in imposing his sentence, specifically, on the court’s view that the defendant was a ‘‘charter member’’ of a mythical group of teenage ‘‘superpredators.’’ Therefore, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the defendant’s motion to correct. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court, and the case is remanded with direction to grant the defendant’s motion and for resentencing.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4812

AC43488 - Karen v. Loftus ("The plaintiff, Cindy L. Karen, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her motion to open the judgment dissolving her marriage to the defendant, William P. Loftus. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court utilized the incorrect legal standard in adjudicating her motion to open. We agree, and, accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the court and remand for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.")

AC43630 - R. S. v. E. S. ("The self-represented defendant, E. S., appeals following the trial court's judgment dissolving the marriage of the defendant and the plaintiff, R. S. We dismiss as moot the defendant's appeal with respect to the court's pendente lite order imposing certain travel restrictions. We conclude that the remainder of the defendant's claims are meritless and do not warrant substantive discussion. We affirm the judgment.")

AC44272 -Taber v. Taber ("In this amended appeal, the self-represented defendant, Michael Taber, appeals from the order of the trial court granting the application for an emergency ex parte order of custody filed by the plaintiff, Stacy Taber.The order, in part, limited the defendant's right to visitation with the parties' minor child.The defendant also appeals from another order of the court ordering him to pay $100 per week on a total arrearage of guardian ad litem (GAL) fees incurred in this dissolution matter and related proceedings.The defendant claims that the court (1) failed to apply the correct legal standard and failed to make requisite findings in its consideration of the application for an emergency ex parte order of custody, and (2) improperly ordered him to make payments of $100 per week on the total arrearage of GAL fees.We dismiss as moot the portion of the appeal related to the defendant's first claim.With respect to the defendant's second claim, we affirm the order of the court finding an arrearage of GAL fees and ordering him to make weekly payments on the total arrearage.")


Civil Rights Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4813

AC43889 - Stanley v. Barone ("The self-represented plaintiff, Steven K. Stanley, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion to dismiss filed by the defendants, employees of the Department of Correction (department), on the basis of statutory and qualified immunity. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly dismissed his complaint because the immunities relied on by the court do not bar his claims brought against the defendants in their individual capacities. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4809

AC44517 - Taylor v. Pollner ("In this quiet title action, the plaintiff, Christopher J. Taylor, appeals from the judgment of the trial court to the extent that the court awarded attorney's fees to the defendant, Lisa Pollner, pursuant to Practice Book § 1-21A. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court abused its discretion in awarding monetary sanctions to compensate the defendant for her attorney's fees and that those fees were excessive, unreasonable, and clearly erroneous. We affirm the judgment of the trial court awarding attorney's fees to the defendant.")

AC44301 - Wooden v. Perez ("In this adverse possession action, the substitute plaintiff, Anthony E. Monelli, as administrator of the estate of the decedent, Lonnie Thomas, Sr., appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion to dismiss filed by the defendant, Dinanyelly E. Perez, on the ground that the substitute plaintiff lacked standing to maintain the action. The substitute plaintiff claims that the court incorrectly determined that he lacked standing to pursue the adverse possession claim because the decedent had devised the property at issue to a trust for the benefit of his children and, therefore, only the trustees of that testamentary trust, and not the executor or administrator of the decedent's estate, had standing to prosecute the present action. We disagree with the substitute plaintiff and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court.")



Probate Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4810

AC44067 - Rider v. Rider ("The plaintiff, Patrick Rider, appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing his probate appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. On appeal, he claims that the court incorrectly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over his appeal on the basis that it was untimely. We affirm the judgment.

---

Reading the relevant statutory scheme with the well established principles regarding the statutory right of appeal in probate cases, we conclude that a motion pursuant to § 45a-128 does not toll the appeal period for the underlying decision.Thus, the plaintiff's appeal from the decree approving the final account was untimely, and the Superior Court correctly determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the appeal.

The judgment is affirmed.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4808

AC44255 - Avon v. Freedom of Information Commission (Administrative appeal; subject matter jurisdiction; "The self-represented defendant, Joao Godoy, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, which he claims sustained in part the administrative appeal filed by the plaintiffs, the town of Avon (town), the Avon Police Department (department), and the Avon Police Chief, from the final decision of the defendant Freedom of Information Commission (commission). The commission found that the plaintiffs violated the Freedom of Information Act (act), General Statutes § 1-200 et seq., by requiring Godoy to sign an acknowledgment form before releasing copies of the public records he had requested and ordered that the plaintiffs shall not require the signing of such a form as a condition precedent to the inspection or receipt of copies of public records. The court affirmed the commission's decision as to the provision of copies but reversed the commission's order "to the extent that" it applied to the inspection of original public records. We conclude that, because the only public records sought by Godoy in the present case were copies, the court's statements regarding original public records are merely dicta, and, consequently, Godoy is not aggrieved by the judgment. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.")

AC43314 - Kiyak v. Dept. of Agriculture (Appeal of animal control officer's disposal orders pursuant to statute (§ 22-358); claim that § 22-358 (c) was unconstitutionally vague as applied because it permitted animal control officers to issue disposal orders as they deem necessary, thereby authorizing arbitrary enforcement; "The plaintiff, Michael Kiyak, appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing his administrative appeal from the final decision of the defendant Department of Agriculture (department) to uphold two disposal orders issued by an animal control officer for the defendant town of Fairfield (town) to euthanize the plaintiff's German shepherd dog pursuant to General Statutes § 22-358. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in dismissing his appeal because (1) § 22-358 (c) is unconstitutionally vague as applied in that the word "necessary," concerning the issuance of a disposal order, authorizes arbitrary enforcement of the statute, (2) the department's hearing officer violated the plaintiff's right to procedural due process by using inadequate procedures in upholding the disposal orders, and (3) the hearing officer erred in designating Animal Control Officer Paul Miller as an expert. We affirm the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing the plaintiff's appeal.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4807

AC43352 - State v. Cusson (Cruelty to persons; disorderly conduct; competency; "The defendant, Mark Cusson, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of three counts of cruelty to persons in violation of General Statutes § 53-20 (a) (1), and five counts of disorderly conduct in violation of General Statutes § 53a-182 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court violated his sixth amendment right to present a defense by failing to take adequate procedural measures before ruling that the victim was incompetent to testify, (2) the trial court violated his due process right to offer witness testimony by failing to sanction the prosecution for intimidating potential defense witnesses from testifying at trial, and (3) the state engaged in prosecutorial impropriety by alerting the trial court as to potential fifth amendment concerns with a defense witness' expected testimony during a pretrial hearing, effectively precluding the witness from testifying and denying the defendant his due process right to a fair trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC43302 - State v. Prudhomme (Assault in first degree; cruelty to persons; tampering with physical evidence; "The defendant, Kristopher Joseph Prudhomme, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of charges of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (3), cruelty to persons in violation of General Statutes § 53-20 (a) (1), and tampering with evidence in violation of General Statutes § 53a-155. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) failed to instruct the jury that it properly could consider evidence of inadequacies in the police investigation that led to his arrest and prosecution as a basis for discrediting the state's evidence against him and entertaining reasonable doubt as to his guilt, (2) admitted into evidence, over his objection, a police disciplinary report containing hearsay statements from nontestifying police officers that tended to undermine his theory of defense, and (3) denied his motion for a new trial pursuant to his claim that the jury's verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence. We agree with the defendant's first claim of error, and accordingly, on that basis, reverse the judgment of conviction of all charges and remand this case for a new trial thereon. We also agree with the defendant's second claim of error, which we have reviewed because it is likely to arise again at retrial. We do not reach the defendant's third claim of error because it is unnecessary for the ultimate disposition of this appeal.")

AC42674 - State v. Jones (Possession of narcotics with intent to sell; criminal possession of pistol; carrying pistol without permit; ''The defendant, Theodore Jones, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of possession of narcotics with intent to sell in violation of General Statutes § 21a-278 (b), criminal possession of a pistol in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217c (a) (1), and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction of criminal possession of a pistol (handgun or firearm), (2) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction of carrying a pistol without a permit, (3) the court committed plain error with respect to its jury instructions concerning criminal possession of a pistol, and (4) the court erred by allowing impermissible opinion testimony regarding his intent to sell narcotics. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4811

AC44259 - Baltas v. Commissioner of Correction (Petitioner’s claim that the habeas court’s conclusion that trial counsel did not concede his guilt was erroneous; "On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court abused its discretion by denying his petition for certification to appeal because his rights to autonomy and to the effective assistance of counsel were violated. We dismiss the petitioner’s appeal.")



Foreclosure Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4806

SC20493 - U.S. Bank, National Assn. v. Madison ("The defendant Margit Madison appeals, upon our grant of her petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's latest judgment of strict foreclosure in favor of the plaintiff, U.S. Bank, National Association, as Trustee for MASTR Adjustable Rate Mortgage Trust 2007-1, Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2007-1. The trial court reentered judgment of strict foreclosure following the termination of the defendant's bankruptcy stay. In this court, the defendant challenges the Appellate Court's conclusion that the trial court properly ruled that she lacked standing in this foreclosure action to raise a defense that she had failed to identify as an asset of the bankruptcy estate in the schedule of assets she filed in her chapter 7 bankruptcy case, adjudicated while the foreclosure case was pending. The defendant argues more specifically that the Appellate Court improperly treated a defense to a foreclosure action as the same as claims and counterclaims, which constitute property of the estate under the United States Bankruptcy Code and, thus, must be disclosed. After examining the entire record on appeal and considering the briefs and oral arguments of the parties, we have determined that the appeal in this case should be dismissed on the ground that certification was improvidently granted.")


Connecticut Law Journal - January 18, 2022

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4805

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXIII, No. 29, for January 18, 2022 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 340: Connecticut Reports (Pages 762 - 804)
  • Volume 340: Orders (Pages 913 - 921)
  • Volume 340: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 210: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 1 - 129)
  • Volume 210: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 901 - 901)
  • Volume 210: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4804

SC20601 - State v. Lopez ("The primary issue in this appeal is whether the state presented sufficient evidence at a violation of probation hearing to establish that an airsoft pellet gun is a firearm within the meaning of the criminal possession of a firearm statute, General Statutes § 53a-217. The defendant, Ramon Lopez, claims that the airsoft pellet gun seized from his residence is not a 'firearm,' as defined by General Statutes § 53a-3 (19), because it is not a 'weapon . . . from which a shot may be discharged' but, rather, a recreational toy that dispenses plastic pellets. The state responds that an airsoft pellet gun is a firearm pursuant to State v. Grant, 294 Conn. 151, 161, 982 A.2d 169 (2009), which held that a BB gun is a firearm for purposes of § 53a-3 (19). We conclude that the evidence in the present case was insufficient to establish that the airsoft pellet gun found in the defendant's residence is a firearm, as defined by § 53a-3 (19), and, therefore, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")



Medical Malpractice Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4802

SC20529 - Riccio v. Bristol Hospital, Inc. ("The appeal in this medical malpractice action requires us to determine whether the trial court correctly concluded that the accidental failure of suit statute, General Statutes § 52-592, did not save the otherwise time barred action of the plaintiff, Joann Riccio, executrix of the estate of Theresa Riccio, because her first medical malpractice action was dismissed due to her attorney's gross negligence for failing to file with her complaint legally sufficient medical opinion letters, as required by General Statutes § 52-190a (a) and two Appellate Court decisions interpreting that statute. Specifically, we must determine whether the plaintiff met her burden of proving that her attorney's admitted failure to know of two Appellate Court decisions, issued six years before she initiated the first action, was a mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect rather than egregious conduct or gross negligence. We agree with the trial court that the plaintiff has not met her burden and, therefore, affirm its judgment.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4797

AC44191 - Marshall v. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (Administrative appeal; suspension of motor vehicle operator's license by defendant Commissioner of Motor Vehicles pursuant to statute (§ 14-227b); "The plaintiff, Anthony J. Marshall III, appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court rendered in favor of the defendant, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (commissioner), dismissing his appeal from the decision of the commissioner to suspend his motor vehicle operator's license, pursuant to General Statutes § 14-227b, for forty-five days and requiring an ignition interlock device in his motor vehicles for six months. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly determined that the hearing officer did not abuse her discretion in admitting into evidence a report, which consisted of an A-44 form, a narrative police report and the results of the plaintiff's breath analysis tests, that did not comply with the three day mailing requirement in § 14-227b (c). We affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4798

AC43511 - Poce v. O & G Industries, Inc ("The plaintiffs, Julian Poce, Skerdinand Xhelaj, Michael Meredith, Erjon Goxhaj, and Fatjon Rapo, appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant O & G Industries, Inc. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly granted the defendant's (1) motion to strike and (2) motion for summary judgment.We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Probate Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4799

AC43648 - Salce v. Cardello (Probate appeal, trusts, in terrorem clause; "The plaintiff . . . appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing his appeal from the Probate Court's decision that the defendant . . . did not violate the in terrorem clauses set forth in their deceased mother's will and trust agreement. We affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.

. . .

For the foregoing reasons, although the defendant technically violated both in terrorem clauses when she challenged Attorney Goldstein's actions in administering the estate and the trust, enforcing the clauses as written would violate public policy. Accordingly, we conclude that the in terrorem clauses are unenforceable against the defendant as a matter of public policy.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4796

AC43785 - State v. McCarthy (Kidnapping in second degree; conspiracy to commit robbery in second degree; larceny in second degree; "The defendant, Lamar McCarthy, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery in the second degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-135 (a) (1) (A), one count of larceny in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-123 (a) (1), and three counts of kidnapping in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-94. The defendant claims that (1) the trial court improperly failed to instruct the jury in accordance with State v. Salamon, 287 Conn. 509, 550, 949 A.2d 1092 (2008); (2) there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to prevent the liberation of the victims beyond that which was incidental and necessary to commit the larceny and that he used or threatened to use physical force or intimidation to restrain the victims; and (3) the court violated his constitutional right to due process by denying his requests to remove his leg shackles. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC43973 - State v. Lamotte (Robbery in first degree; "The defendant, John H. LaMotte, appeals from the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court following the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly denied his request for an evidentiary hearing on his motion to withdraw those pleas. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")