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.

Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3849

SC20243 - Graham v. Friedlander (Negligent hiring; "The plaintiffs, the parents of four school-age children, individually and on behalf of their children, brought this action against the Board of Education of the City of Norwalk (board) and three of its members, in their official capacities (board defendants), the city of Norwalk (city), and Spectrum Kids, LLC, and its owner . . . On appeal, we are asked to determine whether the claims alleged in the plaintiffs' complaint seek relief for a failure to provide special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (act), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq., thus triggering an administrative exhaustion requirement contained in that act and within General Statutes § 10-76h, or whether the plaintiffs' action seeks relief for something other than the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE), thereby relieving the plaintiffs of the exhaustion requirement. To decide this issue at this stage in the litigation—on review of the trial court's decision to grant the board defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the basis of a failure to exhaust administrative remedies—we must confine our inquiry to the allegations in the plaintiffs' complaint. On the basis of those allegations, we conclude that the plaintiffs seek relief for something other than the denial of a FAPE and were, therefore, not obligated to exhaust their administrative remedies. Accordingly, we agree with the plaintiffs that the trial court improperly dismissed their action on the ground that the plaintiffs had not exhausted their administrative remedies. As an alternative ground for upholding the granting of the motion to dismiss, the defendants ask us to determine that the board defendants acted as agents of the state in providing special education services, therefore entitling them to sovereign immunity. We agree with the trial court that the board defendants were acting under the control of, and as an agent of, the municipality rather than the state, and were not entitled to sovereign immunity. Accordingly, we uphold the trial court's denial of the board defendants' motion to dismiss on the sovereign immunity ground. . .

The judgment is reversed only as to the granting of the board defendants' motion to dismiss on the ground that the plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies and the case is remanded with direction to deny the board defendants' motion to dismiss as to the exhaustion claim and for further proceedings according to law; the judgment is affirmed in all other respects.")


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3848

AC41634 - Dunkling v. Lawrence Brunoli, Inc. (Whether defendant general contractor was principal employer; whether Compensation Review Board improperly affirmed ruling denying motion to correct; “The defendants’ central claim on appeal is that the board erred as a matter of law when it affirmed the commissioner’s determination that, on the date that the plaintiff, Michael J. Dunkling, sustained a compensable injury, Brunoli was a principal employer pursuant to General Statutes § 31-291. We affirm the decision of the board”).


Habeas Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3847

AC41647 - Lenti v. Commissioner of Correction (“On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court (1) improperly concluded that he had failed to establish that his plea was not made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily, and (2) abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal from the court’s determination that he had received the effective assistance of counsel. Both of these claims rest on the petitioner’s assertion that he was impaired at the time of his plea by the ingestion of medications prescribed by Department of Correction personnel. We disagree with this assertion and the petitioner’s claims and, accordingly, dismiss the appeal”).

AC41765 - Bagalloo v. Commissioner of Correction (“On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court (1) abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal and (2) improperly denied his petition for a writ of habeas corpus in which he alleged, inter alia, that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance when the petitioner entered into a plea agreement. Because the petitioner has failed to demonstrate that the habeas court abused its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal, we dismiss the appeal”).


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3846

AC41112, AC41154 - State v. Corprew (Motion to correct illegal sentence; claim that sentences were illegal because they included period of special parole, which is not definite sentence; "The defendant, Avery Corprew, appeals from the judgments of the trial court denying his motions to correct an illegal sentence. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly concluded that the sentences imposed on him for a term of incarceration followed by a period of special parole were authorized by statute and, thus, were not illegal. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")



Connecticut Law Journal - January 28, 2020

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3844

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXI, No. 31, for January 28, 2020 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 334: Connecticut Reports (Pages 492 - 763)
  • Volume 334: Orders (Pages 916 - 918)
  • Volume 334: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 195: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 475 - 505)
  • Volume 195: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 903 - 904)
  • Volume 195: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3840

AC42333 - Barr v. Barr ("The defendant, Dean Barr, appeals from the trial court's judgment granting the postjudgment motion for contempt brought by the plaintiff, Alison Barr. The defendant claims that, with respect to the motion, the plaintiff did not properly serve the defendant with process. We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the court and remand the case with direction to dismiss the motion for contempt.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3841

AC41988 - Piccolo v. American Auto Sales, LLC ("The self-represented plaintiff, Andrew J. Piccolo, Jr., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to a jury, in favor of the defendants, American Auto Sales, LLC (business), and Robert J. Vitale, Sr. (Vitale).On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred as a matter of law by striking counts four and eight of his revised complaint, which sounded in unjust enrichment, because it mistakenly concluded that the plaintiff had incorporated the allegations of the existence and breach of an express contract and unjust enrichment in those counts. We agree with the plaintiff and, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3842

SC20141 - Gilchrist v. Commissioner of Correction (Clarification of proper procedure to be used by habeas court in preliminary consideration of a petition for writ of habeas under Practice Book §§ 23-24 and 23-29; petitioner request to withdraw guilty plea and have judgment vacated and/or dismissed; “On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court improperly dismissed the petition without first acting on his request for the appointment of counsel and providing him with notice and an opportunity to be heard. Although we agree with the Appellate Court that the petitioner was not entitled to the appointment of counsel, notice or a hearing under the circumstances, we disagree with the analysis that it used to arrive at that conclusion and, therefore, reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court and remand the case to that court with direction to render judgment in accordance with this opinion”).

AC41339 - Goguen v. Commissioner of Correction (“The self-represented petitioner, Robert Goguen, appeals, following the denial of his petition for certification to appeal, from the judgment of the habeas court declining to issue a writ of habeas corpus. Although the petitioner raises a variety of substantive claims with respect to his underlying conviction on appeal, he has failed to brief the threshold issue of whether the habeas court abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal. Accordingly, we dismiss the petitioner’s appeal”).


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3839

SC20083 - State v. Lebrick (Felony murder; home invasion; conspiracy to commit home invasion; burglary first degree; attempt to commit robbery first degree; assault first degree; certification from Appellate Court; "The defendant, Horvil F. Lebrick, claims in this certified appeal that the Appellate Court improperly affirmed his judgment of conviction because the trial testimony of two witnesses should have been excluded from evidence under the Connecticut Code of Evidence and the confrontation clause of the sixth amendment to the United States constitution. Specifically, the defendant contends that (1) the state failed to establish adequately that a nonappearing witness named Keisha Parks was unavailable to testify at trial, and, therefore, her former testimony improperly was admitted under § 8-6 (1) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence and in violation of the confrontation clause, and (2) the testimony of James Stephenson, the state's expert witness on firearm and tool mark identification, was predicated on inadmissible hearsay and, therefore, improperly was admitted in violation of the confrontation clause. We agree with the defendant that the admission of Parks' former testimony violated his constitutional right of confrontation, but we disagree that the admission of Stephenson's testimony was unconstitutional. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court and remand the case for a new trial.")




Connecticut Law Journal - January 21, 2020

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3836

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXI, No. 30, for January 21, 2020 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 334: Connecticut Reports (Pages 396 - 491)
  • Volume 334: Orders (Pages 915 - 916)
  • Volume 334: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 195: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 334 - 478)
  • Volume 195: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3833

AC42024 - Raczkowski v. McFarlane ("The plaintiff, Toni Raczkowski, brought the underlying negligence action against the defendant landlord, Evelyn Garrow. The plaintiff sought compensation for damages she allegedly sustained when she was bitten by a dog owned by the defendant's tenant, David J. McFarlane, on the leased property. The plaintiff appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment because it erroneously concluded that the defendant did not owe her a duty of care on the basis of the lease agreement between the defendant and McFarlane.We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Attorney Discipline Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3832

AC41805 - Chief Disciplinary Counsel v. Burbank ("The present appeal arises out of a reciprocal disciplinary proceeding commenced pursuant to Practice Book § 2-39 by the petitioner, the Chief Disciplinary Counsel, against the respondent, Harold H. Burbank II, who had been suspended from the practice of law in Maine for one year due to his actions as a self-represented appellant before the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine. The respondent appeals from the judgment of the trial court, which found that commensurate discipline was appropriate with respect to the respondent's Connecticut law license and ordered the respondent suspended from the practice of law in Connecticut for one year.

The respondent, relying principally on the fact that he was not acting on behalf of a client but as a self-represented party at the time he engaged in the misconduct that led to his suspension in Maine, claims on appeal that the disciplinary action against his law license in Maine and, by extension, in Connecticut, (1) violated his right as a citizen to petition the government for a redress of grievances as protected by the first amendment of the United States constitution, and (2) violated his rights to due process and equal protection of law under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")



Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3831

AC42180 - The Bank of New York Mellon v. Mazzeo ("The defendants, John Mazzeo and Linda Mazzeo, appeal from the judgment of foreclosure by sale rendered by the trial court 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 2005-56, Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2005-56.The defendants claim that the plaintiff (1) lacked standing to bring the present action and (2) failed to prove its prima facie case. We disagree with the defendants' first claim but agree with the defendants' second claim and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the court.")


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3830

SC19868 - State v. Collymore (Felony murder; attempt to commit robbery first degree; conspiracy to commit robbery first degree; criminal possession of firearm; prior inconsistent statements; statutory (§ 54-47a) immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony during state's case-in-chief; fifth amendment right against self-incrimination; "The primary question in this appeal is whether the defendant, Anthony Collymore, was harmed when the state, after granting immunity to three witnesses under General Statutes § 54-47a for testimony given during the state's case-in-chief, revoked that immunity when the same witnesses later testified in the defense case-in-chief. The defendant appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of felony murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c, attempt to commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 (a) (2) and 53a-134 (a) (2), conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 (a) and 53a-134 (a), and criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217 (a) (1). He claims that his rights to due process and a fair trial under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution, and his rights to compulsory process and to present a defense under the sixth amendment to the United States constitution were violated when the trial court improperly permitted the state to revoke the immunity of the three witnesses, causing them to invoke their fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. Additionally, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court improperly denied his motion to reconsider in light of this court's holding in State v. Dickson, 322 Conn. 410, 141 A.3d 810 (2016), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 137 S. Ct. 2263, 198 L. Ed. 2d 713 (2017), on the ground that two witnesses made improper, first time in-court identifications. Because we conclude that the revocation of immunity did not violate the defendant's constitutional rights and that any improprieties regarding the first time in-court identifications were harmless, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")

AC41563 - State v. Watson (Murder; sale of narcotics; "The defendant, Semmion Watson, appeals from the judgment of conviction of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a) and sale of narcotics in violation of General Statutes § 21a-278 (b), rendered after a trial to the court. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the state failed to disprove his self and premises defenses beyond a reasonable doubt and (2) the court improperly precluded the testimony of a defense witness. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of conviction.")

AC41488 - State v. Randy G. (Violation of probation; "The defendant, Randy G., appeals from the judgment of the trial court finding him in violation of his probation pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-32. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court abused its discretion by (1) admitting into evidence a police report from the underlying case in which he was convicted and (2) refusing to admit evidence of the victim's criminal complaint against a previous boyfriend. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3834

AC42200 - Romeo v. Bazow ("The plaintiffs, Richard Romeo and Nancy Romeo, appeal from the judgment of the trial court dismissing their third-party petition for visitation brought pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-59 and Practice Book § 25-4 as to the minor children of the defendant, Fernne Bazow. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly dismissed their petition on the basis that it failed to satisfy the jurisdictional pleading requirements set forth in Roth v. Weston, 259 Conn. 202, 789 A.2d 431 (2002). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41751 - Hunter v. Shrestha ("The plaintiffs, Craig B. Hunter and Sarah Megan Berthold, appeal from the judgment of the trial court dismissing their third-party petition for visitation pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-59 and Practice Book § 25-4 as to the minor child of the defendant, Satyam S. Shrestha. Because we conclude that the plaintiffs' petition failed to satisfy the jurisdictional pleading requirements set forth in Roth v. Weston, 259 Conn. 202, 789 A.2d 431 (2002), we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3829

SC20079 - Netscout Systems, Inc. v. Gartner, Inc. ("The plaintiff, NetScout Systems, Inc., is in the business of developing and selling information technology products that allow its customers to manage, monitor, diagnose and service their computer networks. The defendant, Gartner, Inc., publishes research reports in which it rates vendors, such as the plaintiff, that sell and service various forms of information technology. The defendant also sells consulting services to some of the vendors that it rates. In 2014, the defendant issued a research report (2014 report), in which it ranked the plaintiff lower than some of its competitors and made critical comments about the plaintiff. Thereafter, the plaintiff brought this action alleging that the defendant had engaged in a 'pay to play' scheme, in which it rewarded vendors that purchased consulting services from the defendant by giving them high ratings in its research reports. The plaintiff claimed that the alleged pay to play scheme constituted a false and deceptive business practice under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., and that the 2014 report contained false and defamatory statements about the plaintiff. The defendant, in response, raised a defense premised on the theory that its rankings and commentary were protected speech under the first amendment to the United States constitution.

The trial court agreed with the defendant. The court concluded that the defendant's 2014 report was constitutionally protected speech, and the plaintiff, as a limited purpose public figure, was required to present evidence that the defendant had acted with actual malice. The court found that the plaintiff had failed to do so and, accordingly, rendered summary judgment for the defendant with respect to both claims on that ground. The court also determined that the CUTPA claim failed because the plaintiff had not presented evidence to support the factual predicate for its pay to play allegation due to its own expert witness' inability to conclude that the defendant's ratings were correlated to the dollar volume of consulting services that the vendors had purchased from the defendant. 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.

We affirm the trial court's judgment on the alternative ground that all of the defendant's statements regarding the plaintiff were nonactionable expressions of opinion.")



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