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.


OLR Research Reports for August

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=98

Three new Office of Legislative Research (OLR) reports were issued on August 11, 2016. They are:

Small Claims and Landlord-Tenant Cases 2016-R-0142 – “Summarize how Connecticut handles small claims or landlord-tenant cases, such as the use of mediation or other alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and a sampling of practices from other states.”

Private Disability Insurance in Connecticut 2016-R-0144 – “Explain disability insurance, including benefit and elimination periods. Describe the major laws and regulations governing disability insurance in Connecticut. Explain how disability insurance in Connecticut differs from workers’ compensation insurance.”

Spending Cap Definitions 2016-R-0137 – “Summarize legislative proposals that define the spending cap’s terms.”


Free Online Legal Advice - Connecticut Justice Online Anytime

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=96

Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut has launched an online, free legal aid portal for low-income Connecticut residents to ask their civil legal questions and receive free, brief legal advice from Connecticut pro bono attorneys. Beginning August 22, 2016, Connecticut residents with access to the Internet will have the opportunity to login to "Connecticut Justice Online Anytime" to:

  • Register and create a user profile;
  • Ask a confidential civil legal question;
  • Receive free legal advice from a licensed Connecticut attorney via the confidential website

Visit https://ct.freelegalanswers.org/ for additional information.


Workers' Compensation Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=95

SC19465 - Estate of Rock v. University of Connecticut (Workers' compensation; "The threshold jurisdictional issue in this appeal is whether the plaintiff, Estate of James Rock, has standing under the Workers’ Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq., to seek benefits for temporary total disability and permanent partial disability, as well as reimbursement for, inter alia, medical expenses, when the deceased employee, James Rock (decedent), did not file a claim for benefits…The plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Court, and we transferred the appeal to this court pursuant to General Statutes § 51-199 (c) and Practice Book § 65-1. On appeal, the plaintiff challenges the standing determination but not the commissioner’s denial of the motion to substitute the administrator of the decedent’s estate as the claimant and the request to change the case caption.")

AC37303 - Wiblyi v. McDonald’s Corp. (Workers' compensation; "We conclude that the board improperly remanded the matter with direction that the commissioner, essentially, reconsider his findings on the ground that there were 'ambiguities in the record . . . .’'")

AC37304 - Wiblyi v. McDonald’s Corp. (Workers' compensation; "The defendant McDonald’s Corporation appeals from the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Review Board (board) finding error in the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner (commissioner). On appeal, the defendant claims that the board improperly concluded, as a matter of law, that the equitable doctrine of laches was not available as a defense to the motion to preclude filed by the plaintiff, John M. Wiblyi, Jr. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the decision of the board.”)


Habeas Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=94

AC37939 - Tutson v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; "The petitioner claims that the second habeas court erred by (1) concluding that there was no reasonable probability that the result of the habeas appeal from the first habeas court’s denial of his petition for certification to appeal would have been different and (2) declining to presume that the petitioner was prejudiced by his prior habeas appellate counsel’s failures to raise an issue on his petition for certification to appeal from the first habeas court’s ruling. We affirm the judgment of the second habeas court.")

AC36974- Dumas v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; " The petitioner, Nyron Dumas, appeals following the denial of his petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the habeas court dismissing in part and denying in part his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. He claims that the habeas court abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal and, as to the merits, improperly denied a count of his habeas petition for failure of proof. We disagree with the petitioner and agree with the result reached by the habeas court, but on an alternative ground.")


Freedom of Information Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=93

SC19586 - Harrington v. Freedom of Information Commission (Freedom of information; "Clients call upon attorneys to provide advice on a range of matters, some that may be purely legal, some that may be purely nonlegal, and others where the line between legal and nonlegal advice is more nuanced. This case provides an opportunity to address the circumstances under which communications relating to both nonlegal and legal advice may be covered by the attorney-client privilege.

The plaintiff, Michael C. Harrington, appeals from the trial court's judgment dismissing his appeal from the decision of the Freedom of Information Commission, which concluded that e-mails that the plaintiff sought from the defendant Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority fall within the exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (act) for communications subject to the attorney-client privilege. See General Statutes § 1-210 (b) (10). We conclude that the commission failed to apply the proper standard for assessing the communications at issue, which include communications that the commission characterized as containing a mix of business and legal advice. Therefore, the case must be remanded to the commission for further proceedings.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=92

AC37988 - Solairaj v. Mannarino Builders, Inc.("The plaintiffs, Manivannan Solairaj and Malini Manivannan, appeal from the judgment rendered after a trial to the court in favor of the defendant, Mannarino Builders, Inc. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court’s findings underlying its conclusions that (1) the plaintiffs breached the purchase agreement and (2) the defendant did not breach the agreement were clearly erroneous. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=90

AC37441 - State v. Baker (Possession of weapon or dangerous instrument in correctional institution;"The defendant, James Baker, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Practice Book § 43-22. After pleading guilty under the Alford doctrine to possessing a weapon or dangerous instrument in a correctional institution in violation of General Statutes § 53a-174a (a), the defendant was sentenced to eighteen months of imprisonment. The defendant claims on appeal that the trial court (1) improperly denied his motion to correct the eighteen month sentence because the sentence violates the double jeopardy clause of the federal constitution, and (2) abused its discretion by excluding evidence that was relevant to the disposition of the motion to correct. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37891 - State v. Palmenta (Motion to correct illegal sentence; "The defendant, Scott Palmenta, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence. On appeal, the defendant claims that he falls within the exemption set forth in General Statutes § 53a-40 (c), and, therefore, the court improperly sentenced him as a persistent serious felony offender. We disagree with the defendant and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37433, AC37434 - State v. Kinch (Possession of narcotics with intent to sell by person who is not drug-dependent; failure to appear in first degree; "This case involves an investigatory stop of a motor vehicle. The defendant, Phil Kinch, appeals from the judgments of conviction, rendered after jury trials, of possession of narcotics with intent to sell by a person who is not drug-dependent in violation of General Statutes § 21a-278 (b) and failure to appear in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-172 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress certain evidence. He further maintains that, should he prevail on that claim, his conviction for failure to appear also must be set aside. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Medical Malpractice Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=91

AC37569 - Helfant v. Yale-New Haven Hospital (Medical malpractice; "The plaintiff, Nancy Helfant, in her capacity as the executrix of the estate of Irwin Helfant, the decedent, and in her individual capacity, brought this medical negligence action against the defendants, Middlesex Hospital, Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and the agents, servants, and employees of these institutions, and against John Lynch and Henry Cabin, both physicians, individually. The plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing the action on the ground that the plaintiff failed to satisfy General Statutes § 52-190a by filing a written opinion of a similar health care provider that there appears to be negligence on the part of the defendants. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly determined that the opinion letter filed in the present case failed to demonstrate that the author of the letter was a similar health care provider as defined by General Statutes § 52-184c. Because we conclude that the opinion letter submitted by the plaintiff was not from a similar health care provider, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Law Library Hours: August 29th - September 2nd

   by Dowd, Jeffrey

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=88

Tuesday, August 30th

  • The Middletown Law Library will open at 10:30 a.m.
  • The New Britain Law Library will close at 12:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 31st

  • The Putnam Law Library will close at 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 1st

  • The Putnam Law Library will be closed.

Friday, September 2nd

  • The Danbury Law Library will close at 1:00 p.m.
  • The Litchfield and Putnam Law Library will be closed.

Our normal operating hours can be found here.


Family Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=89

SC19614, SC19615 - LaFrance v. Lodmell ("This consolidated appeal arises from a marital dissolution action brought by the plaintiff, Joan LaFrance, against the defendant, Dean W. Lodmell. On appeal, the defendant asserts that the trial court improperly: (1) applied General Statutes § 46b-66 (c) to an agreement to arbitrate contained within a prenuptial agreement between the parties and limited arbitration to the sale of a jointly owned residential property (residence); (2) denied the defendant’s request for leave to file an amended cross complaint to assert certain claims against the plaintiff in the dissolution action; and (3) confirmed the arbitration awards where the arbitrator exceeded the scope of her authority and the scope of the submission. We reject the defendant’s claims and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


FAQ: Who May Perform a Marriage in Connecticut?

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=86

Who may perform a marriage in Connecticut? Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-22(a) (2016 Supp.) states the following:

Persons authorized to solemnize marriages in this state include (1) all judges and retired judges, either elected or appointed, including federal judges and judges of other states who may legally join persons in marriage in their jurisdictions, (2) family support magistrates, state referees and justices of the peace who are appointed in Connecticut, and (3) all ordained or licensed members of the clergy, belonging to this state or any other state, as long as they continue in the work of the ministry. All marriages solemnized according to the forms and usages of any religious denomination in this state, including marriages witnessed by a duly constituted Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is, are valid. All marriages attempted to be celebrated by any other person are void.

For more information, see the following research guides and reports:

In Massachusetts the "Governor can designate non-clergy individuals to solemnize a marriage, such as a friend or a family member." See One Day Marriage Designation Instructions; MA General Laws, Chapter 207; More Information. The law in New York on this subject can be found in Domestic Relations, Section 11; More Information. The law in Rhode Island can be found in Domestic Relations, Chapter 15-3.


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=87

SC19387 - State v. Ruocco (Burglary third degree; larceny third degree;"After a jury found the defendant, Dustin Ruocco, guilty of burglary in the third degree and larceny in the third degree, the Appellate Court reversed his conviction upon concluding that it was plain error for the trial court not to instruct the jury, as mandated by General Statutes § 54-84 (b), that it may draw no unfavorable inferences from the defendant's failure to testify. State v. Ruocco, 151 Conn. App. 732, 744, 754, 95 A.3d 573 (2014). We granted the state's petition for certification to appeal, limited to the issue of whether the Appellate Court properly reversed the defendant's conviction under the plain error doctrine. State v. Ruocco, 314 Conn. 923, 100 A.3d 854 (2014). We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


FAQ: Smoking Policies for Apartments and Condominiums

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=84

The Connecticut Department of Public Health's Smoke Free Multi-Unit Housing web page provides extensive information on and tips about the legality and implementation of smoke free policies. The documents below answer many frequently asked questions about this topic.


Family Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=85

SC19504 - Sousa v. Sousa ("On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the Appellate Court improperly failed to consider aspects of the doctrine of finality of judgments on the basis of its conclusion that it was 'entirely obvious' that, under General Statutes § 46b-81 (a) and General Statutes (Supp. 2016) § 46b-86 (a), Judge Resha lacked subject matter jurisdiction to modify the pension division in the prior judgment of dissolution. We conclude that: (1) given a conflict in the case law on point and the Superior Court's plenary jurisdiction over family relations matters, the Appellate Court improperly determined that it was 'entirely obvious' that Judge Resha lacked subject matter jurisdiction to modify the property distribution in the judgment of dissolution; and (2) considerations of finality of judgments, as set forth in § 12 of the Restatement (Second) of Judgments, do not support permitting the defendant to mount a collateral attack on the modified judgment. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


New Regulations - Expedited Pardons Review

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=83

Effective August 2, 2016, there are new expedited pardons review regulations. The new regulations provide non-violent offenders with a expedited pardons process if they meet certain criteria laid out in the regulations. More information about pardons can be found on the Board of Pardons and Paroles website.


Supreme and Appellate Court Dockets and Assignments

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=80

From the Supreme and Appellate Courts' Notice:

Effective December 1, 2016, the Supreme Court and Appellate Court dockets and assignments will no longer be printed and mailed. Docket and case assignment information will be available on the Judicial Branch website and at http://appellateinquiry.jud.ct.gov. Incarcerated self-represented parties and other counsel of record in those appellate matters will continue to receive notice by mail. Cases the Appellate Court determines should be considered on the court’s own motion calendar for dismissal or sanctions will also receive notice by mail. Dockets and assignments for the first four terms of the Supreme Court will be mailed according to current procedure, and dockets and assignments for the first three terms of the Appellate Court will be mailed according to current procedure as well.

  • Posted in:
  • FYI

Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=82

AC37588 - Prime Locations of CT, LLC v. Rocky Hill Development, LLC ("The defendants MPM Enterprises, LLC (MPM), and Luke DiMaria appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, Prime Locations of CT, LLC (Prime Locations), Hasson Holdings, LLC (Hasson), SMS Realty, LLC (SMS), and C&G Holdings, LLC (C&G). On appeal, the defendants argue that the court improperly (1) concluded that the plaintiffs had standing and (2) decided the case on a basis that was not pleaded, briefed or argued during the proceedings in the trial court. We agree with the defendants' second claim, and reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Corpus Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=81

AC37385 - Robinson v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; "On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court (1) abused its discretion when it denied his petition for certification to appeal and (2) improperly concluded that his criminal defense counsel (defense counsel), George Flores and William O’Connor, did not provide ineffective assistance by failing to immediately object or move for a mistrial after a state’s witness testified that the petitioner had refused to speak to police. We conclude that the court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal, and, accordingly, dismiss the appeal.")

AC37390 - Kitchens v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; " He claims, more particularly, that the habeas court erred in ruling that his trial counsel did not render ineffective assistance by failing to request proper jury instructions on two essential elements of the charged offenses and/or failing to object or except to the trial court’s omission of such proper jury instructions from the court’s charge. First, he claims that the jury should have been instructed, pursuant to State v. Salamon, 287 Conn. 509, 949 A.2d 1092 (2008), that the offense of kidnapping requires proof that he intended to prevent the victim’s liberation for a longer period of time or to a greater degree than that which is necessary to commit another crime against the victim. Second, he claims that the jury should have been instructed, as part of the common element of restraint required for commission of the offenses of unlawful restraint and kidnapping, that he acted with a specific intent to interfere substantially with the victim’s liberty rather than merely a general intent to engage in conduct that caused that result.")

AC36362 - Allen v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; " The petitioner claims that the court abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification because the record before it clearly established that counsel at his criminal trial rendered ineffective assistance by failing to make a timely request that his jury be polled to assure the unanimity of its verdict. We disagree and thus dismiss the appeal. ")



Medical Malpractice Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=79

AC37413 - Gagliano v. Advanced Specialty Care, P.C. (Medical malpractice; "The defendant, Danbury Hospital (hospital), appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury verdict, in favor of the plaintiffs, Vivian Gagliano and her husband, Philip Gagliano, on their negligence claims against the hospital and its codefendant, Dr. Venkata Bodavula. On appeal, the hospital claims that the trial court erred by failing to grant its motions to set aside the verdict and for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The hospital argues, and we agree, that insufficient evidence was presented from which the jury reasonably could have found that Dr. Bodavula was the hospital's agent for purposes of assisting in the plaintiff's surgery and, therefore, the hospital could not be held vicariously liable for the plaintiff's injuries. We reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


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