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.
Recent Opinions

Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5057

AC43975 - Wallace v. Caring Solutions, LLC (“The plaintiff, Tyisha S. Wallace, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered after a trial to the court in favor of the defendant, Caring Solutions, LLC. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred when it rendered judgment for the defendant because the court (1) applied the wrong causation standard to the plaintiff’s discrimination claim and (2) failed to find that certain statements in the defendant’s pretrial brief were binding judicial admissions and ignored other statements made by the defendant that conflicted with its purported, nondiscriminatory reason for not hiring the plaintiff. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Landlord/Tenant Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5058

AC43887 - Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities ex rel. Cortes v. Valentin (Housing discrimination; "The defendant, Margaret Valentin, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in favor of the plaintiff, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (commission), and the intervening plaintiff, Julissa Cortes, in this action alleging housing discrimination in violation of General Statutes 46a-64c (a). The defendant claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support the court's conclusion that she had violated 46a-64c (a) by engaging in discriminatory housing practices, (2) the court abused its discretion in awarding Cortes compensatory damages for emotional distress and (3) the court (a) improperly failed to conduct an evidentiary hearing prior to denying her application for a writ of audita querela and (b) abused its discretion in denying her motion for reargument and reconsideration of that application. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Supreme and Appellate Court Slip Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5056

SC20671 - In re Amias I. ("The respondent mother, Jennifer S., appeals from the judgments of the trial court rendered in favor of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, terminating her parental rights as to her three children, Anaya I., Amias I., and Adelyn I., due to her failure to achieve a sufficient degree of personal rehabilitation that would encourage the belief that, within a reasonable time, considering the ages and needs of her children, she could assume a responsible role in their lives. The respondent claims that, in addition to their statutory right to conflict free counsel established by the legislature in General Statutes § 46b-129a (2) (A), this court should hold that her children also had a procedural due process right to such counsel under the state and federal constitutions, and that the trial court violated this right by failing to inquire into whether the attorney appointed to represent them, Dana E. Clark, had a conflict of interest due to the children's conflicting goals regarding reunification. Alternatively, the respondent seeks reversal of the judgments pursuant to the plain error doctrine. We conclude that we need not decide whether the respondent's children had a constitutional—as opposed to only a statutory—right to conflict free counsel because, even if they did, it is apparent that any violation of such a right was harmless error. We also decline the respondent's request to apply the plain error doctrine. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.")

AC44814 - In re Alizabeth L.-T. ("The respondent father, Benjamin L., appeals from the judgments of the trial court sustaining ex parte orders granting temporary custody of his minor children, Alizabeth L.-T., Tanisha L., and Alyson L.-T., to the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families. The respondent father raises several evidentiary claims on appeal, including that, at the contested hearing, the court improperly (1) admitted certain hearsay statements of the children under a statutory exception to the hearsay rule codified in General Statutes § 46b-129 (g), and (2) admitted hearsay statements made by Alizabeth during a forensic interview under the medical diagnosis or treatment exception to the hearsay rule. See Conn. Code Evid. § 8-3 (5). We agree with both claims and conclude that these evidentiary errors, considered together, were not harmless because, without the improperly admitted hearsay testimony and exhibits, it is likely that the outcome of the hearing would have been different. Accordingly, we reverse the judgments of the court and remand the case for a new contested hearing.")


Connecticut Law Journal - June 28, 2022

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5054

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXIII, No. 52, for June 28, 2022 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 343: Connecticut Reports (Pages 773 - 816)
  • Volume 343: Orders (Pages 931 - 932)
  • Volume 343: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 213: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 445 - 541)
  • Volume 213: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Family Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5053

SC20593 - Birkhold v. Birkhold (Dissolution; Alimony; Whether trial court properly included advances on commissions from plaintiff former husband's employment and money earned by and paid to plaintiff's LLC as income subject to alimony under separation agreement; "In this appeal, we are called on to interpret a separation agreement to determine whether draws or advance payments on commissions are loans, and thus do not constitute income for the purposes of awarding alimony. The plaintiff, Stephen Birkhold, appeals from the trial court's decision granting both his motion for modification of alimony and a postjudgment motion for contempt filed by the defendant, Susan Birkhold, which the trial court resolved by finding the plaintiff in contempt and awarding the defendant past due alimony and attorney's fees. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court incorrectly (1) interpreted the parties' separation agreement to conclude that the draws from his employment as a real estate broker were income subject to alimony, (2) interpreted the parties' agreement to conclude that money paid to his limited liability company (LLC) was income subject to alimony, (3) modified his future alimony obligation, (4) found him in contempt for his failure to pay alimony, and (5) awarded the defendant attorney's fees as the prevailing party under the separation agreement. We affirm the trial court's decision in full.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5052

AC44063 - Pointe Residential Builders BH, LLC v. TMP Construction Group, LLC (“This appeal arises out of a contract for the construction of a condominium complex in Greenwich. The defendants, TMP Construction Group, LLC (TMP), and Olin Paige III, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Pointe Residential Builders BH, LLC, following a trial to the court. On appeal, the defendants claim that the court erred by rendering judgment for the plaintiff with respect to the plaintiff's count alleging a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., and the plaintiff's count alleging unjust enrichment. We conclude that the court did not improperly render judgment on the plaintiff's CUTPA claim. In light of this conclusion, we need not address the defendants' claims pertaining to the unjust enrichment claim. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.”)


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5049

AC44465 - Lavette v. Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (Intentional tort; motion to strike; whether plaintiff employee's pleading was legally sufficient to bring claim within intentional tort exception to exclusivity provision (§ 31-284) of Workers' Compensation Act (§ 31-275 et seq.); whether plaintiff's allegations were legally sufficient to establish that supervisory employee acted as defendant employer's alter ego; "The plaintiff, Henry Lavette III, a former employee of the defendant, Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the defendant following the court's decision to strike count one of his fourth amended complaint with prejudice. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that he had failed to allege sufficient facts to establish that his claim came within the intentional tort exception to the exclusivity provision of the Workers' Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5051

AC44492 - Inglis v. Commissioner of Correction (“On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal and improperly rejected his claims that (1) his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance in his underlying criminal trial, and (2) his right to due process under the Connecticut constitution was violated by the admission of both out-of-court and in-court eyewitness identifications of him that were obtained through unnecessarily suggestive identification procedures. We conclude that the court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal and, accordingly, dismiss the petitioner’s appeal.”)


Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5050

AC45003 - U.S. Bank Trust, N.A. v. Dallas ("The defendant Lesley Dallas appeals following the judgment of strict foreclosure rendered against her in favor of the plaintiff, U.S. Bank Trust, N.A., as Trustee for LSF9 Master Participation Trust, in this residential mortgage foreclosure action. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment as to liability only because it erred in determining that there were no genuine issues of material fact as to the defendant's special defenses of residential mortgage fraud and fraud in the inducement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5047

SC20516 - Winakor v. Savalle (“This appeal requires us to consider whether certain services provided by a contractor fall under the purview of the Home Improvement Act, General Statutes § 20-418 et seq. In this appeal, the plaintiff, Lee Winakor, claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the Home Improvement Act did not apply to work performed on his property by the defendant, Vincent Savalle. The defendant claims that the work falls under the new home exception of the Home Improvement Act and, therefore, that the Appellate Court's conclusion was correct. We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)


Connecticut Law Journal - June 21, 2022

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5045

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXIII, No. 51, for June 21, 2022 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 343: Connecticut Reports (Pages 642 - 773)
  • Volume 343: Orders (Pages 927 - 930)
  • Volume 343: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 213: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 306 - 445)
  • Volume 213: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Slip Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5044

SC20614 - In re Annessa J. ("In her appeal, the respondent mother, Valerie H., claims that the Appellate Court improperly rejected her unpreserved claim that the trial court had violated her rights under article fifth, § 1, and article first, § 10, of the Connecticut constitution by conducting the termination of parental rights trial virtually, via Microsoft Teams, rather than in person. She also claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly determined that the record was inadequate to review her unpreserved claim that she was denied her right to physically confront the witnesses against her at the virtual trial, in violation of the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution. In the cross appeal, the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, claims that the Appellate Court improperly expanded the standard for deciding motions for posttermination visitation and improperly reversed the trial court's rulings on those motions for failing to comply with that new standard.")

SC20612 - In re Aisjaha N. ("This appeal is one of the companion cases to In re Annessa J., 343 Conn. 642, ___ A.3d ___ (2022), which we also decide today. The respondent mother, Jacqueline H., appeals from the decision of the trial court, which vested permanent legal guardianship of Jacqueline's minor child, Aisjaha N., in a relative, pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-129 (j) (6). On appeal, Jacqueline claims that she was denied due process of law when the trial court failed to ensure that she appeared by two-way video technology at a virtual trial, conducted via Microsoft Teams, on the motion for permanent legal guardianship. Alternatively, Jacqueline asks this court to reverse the decision of the trial court pursuant to our supervisory authority over the administration of justice. Specifically, she asks this court to adopt a procedural rule requiring that a trial court, before conducting a virtual trial in a child protection case, ensure that the parties either appear by two-way videoconferencing technology or waive the right to do so, after a brief canvass. We affirm the decision of the trial court.")

SC20603, SC20604 - In re Vada V. ("These appeals are companion cases to In re Annessa J., 343 Conn. 642, ___ A.3d ___ (2022), and In re Aisjaha N., 343 Conn. 709, ___ A.3d ___ (2022), which we also decide today. The respondents, Sebastian V. and Samantha C., appeal from the judgments of the trial court, which terminated their parental rights pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j). On appeal, the respondents raise three unpreserved constitutional claims relating to the virtual nature of the termination of parental rights trial. Specifically, the respondents contend that the trial court violated their rights under article first, § 10, and article fifth, § 1, of the Connecticut constitution by conducting the termination of parental rights trial virtually, via Microsoft Teams, rather than in person. They also contend that they were denied the right to physically confront the witnesses against them at the virtual trial, in violation of the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution. Finally, the respondents contend that their constitutional rights were violated when the state required them to participate in the virtual trial without providing them with an electronic device and internet connection that allowed them to appear before the trial court in the same manner as if they were in a courtroom. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Landlord/Tenant Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5042

AC44178 - Parrott v. Colon (Housing code enforcement; "In this housing code enforcement action, the plaintiffs, John J. Parrott and Solanyi A. Parrott-Rosario, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a bench trial, in favor of the defendants, Al L. Colon, Karen J. Colon (landlord), and Robert C. White & Company, LLC (property manager). The plaintiffs claim that the court incorrectly construed General Statutes § 47a-7 when it required them to prove by a fair preponderance of the evidence that their allegations constituted violations of the housing code or materially affected the health, safety and habitability of the premises. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5040

AC44330 - Highland Street Associates v. Commissioner of Transportation ("In this declaratory judgment action, the defendants, the Commissioner of Transportation (commissioner) and the Department of Transportation (department), appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, Highland Street Associates (Highland Street) and Barrett Outdoor Communications, Inc. (Barret Outdoor). On appeal, the defendants claim that the court erred in concluding that the replacement of a billboard's existing trestle support structure with a monopole constituted maintenance and repair under the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 (act), 23 U.S.C. § 131 et seq., and General Statutes § 13a-123. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5036

AC43877 - Oral Care Dental Group II, LLC v. Pallet (Administrative appeal; employment based sexual harassment and discrimination; "The defendant Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (commission) appeals from the judgment of the trial court vacating the human rights referee's damages award for garden-variety emotional distress to the defendant Shanteema Pallet, in her sexual harassment complaint against the plaintiff, Oral Care Dental Group II, LLC. On appeal, the commission claims that the court erred when it vacated the damages award after concluding that the plaintiff was prejudiced by Pallet's failure to produce certain medical records. We agree with the commission and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the trial court and remand the case to the trial court with direction to deny the plaintiff's administrative appeal.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5039

AC43748 - State v. Russaw ("The defendant, Deykevious Russaw, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of conspiracy to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-54a and 53a-48. The defendant's conviction stems from an incident involving a drive-by shooting that resulted in the death of an unintended third person rather than the intended victim. On appeal, he claims, first, that his conviction of conspiracy to commit murder is legally insufficient because the doctrine of transferred intent, upon which he contends the state relied, does not apply to the crime of conspiracy, and second, that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress certain statements that he made to the police while he was in custody and after he had invoked his right to counsel. We reject both of the defendant's claims and, therefore, affirm the judgment of conviction.")


Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5041

AC44819 - Milford v. Recycling, Inc. ("Foreclosure of municipal tax lien; denial of motion to open judgment; "In this municipal tax lien foreclosure action, the defendant Donna Stewart, Trustee, appeals from the judgment of the trial court sustaining the objection of the plaintiff, the city of Milford, and denying her motion to open the existing judgment of foreclosure and to extend the sale date ordered therein. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in concluding that, considering the equities advanced by both parties for the court's consideration, the balancing of those equities favored the plaintiff. In response, the plaintiff argues that the judgment of the court should be affirmed because the court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that those equities favored the plaintiff. We agree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5038

AC44533 - Santiago v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas corpus; whether habeas court abused its discretion in denying certification to appeal; "The petitioner, Joaquin Santiago, appeals following the denial of his petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the habeas court dismissing his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification and improperly dismissed his petition for a writ of habeas corpus by concluding that he was not denied the effective assistance of his trial counsel, Special Public Defender John Stawicki, with respect to Stawicki's failure to preserve the petitioner's direct appeal. We disagree and, accordingly, dismiss the appeal. ")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5037

AC44591 - Swain v. Swain (Dissolution of marriage; postjudgment motion to modify custody, child support, visitation and parental access schedule; "The plaintiff, Earl W. Swain, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting in part a postjudgment motion to modify filed by the self-represented defendant, Tina N. Swain. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly modified the existing orders as to visitation, the parental access plan, and child support because the defendant's motion to modify sought only to modify custody. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court")

AC42601 - Szymonik v. Szymonik (Dissolution of marriage; motion for contempt; motion for sanctions; "In this extensively litigated postdissolution matter, the defendant, Peter Szymonik, challenges the judgments of the trial court finding him in contempt on two separate occasions and sanctioning him for engaging in bad faith litigation. On appeal, the defendant presents a myriad of overlapping and intertwined arguments seeking a reversal of the court's judgments. After a careful review of the file, the memoranda of decision, the appellate briefs, and the parties' oral argument before this court, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5034

SC20539 - State v. Rivera (Murder, conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree; unlawful restraint in the first degree; unlawful discharge of a firearm; carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit ; “In the present appeal, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the trial court had not abused its discretion by (1) admitting an audio recording allegedly containing his confession into evidence, and (2) directing the jury to disregard portions of defense counsel’s closing argument relating to the absence of an in-court identification from one of the state’s witnesses. For the reasons that follow, we reject both of those claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)