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

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.")


Connecticut Law Journal - January 14, 2020

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3828

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXI, No. 29, for January 14, 2020 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 334: Connecticut Reports (Pages 341 - 395)
  • Volume 334: Orders (Pages 911 - 914)
  • Volume 334: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 195: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 179 - 333)
  • Volume 195: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3827

AC42870 - In re Yolanda V. (Termination of parental rights; “She contends that the court improperly concluded that (1) she failed to achieve the requisite degree of personal rehabilitation required by General Statutes § 17a-112, and (2) termination of her parental rights was in the best interests of the children. 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=3825

AC39564 - Barnes v. Connecticut Podiatry Group, P.C. (Medical malpractice; motion to preclude expert testimony; motion for summary judgment; "In this medical malpractice action, the substitute plaintiff, Sherry West Barnes, administratrix of the estate of Kenneth Barnes (administratrix), appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Connecticut Podiatry Group, P.C., and Marc Daddio, a doctor of podiatric medicine. On appeal, the administratrix claims that (1) the court, A. Robinson, J., erred in precluding Barnes from disclosing additional experts, and (2) the court, Lager, J., erred in (a) adhering to Judge Robinson's order precluding Barnes from disclosing additional experts, (b) precluding the expert opinions of Barnes' disclosed expert, and (c) rendering summary judgment in favor of the defendants. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the summary judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3826

AC41769 - State v. Mitchell (Motion to correct illegal sentence; "The defendant, James Mitchell, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence. On appeal, the defendant challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to correct on four grounds: (1) that the sentence was imposed in an illegal manner in violation of Santobello v. New York, 404 U.S. 257, 262, 92 S. Ct. 495, 30 L. Ed. 2d 427 (1971), because the defendant was sentenced after the nine month period of the Garvin agreement had ended; (2) that the sentence was imposed in an illegal manner because the defendant was not given adequate notice of the sentencing hearing; (3) that he was denied the opportunity to make a statement or present evidence in violation of Practice Book § 43-10; and (4) that the imposition of the sentence violated Practice Book § 43-29. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41139 - State v. Brown (Breach of peace in second degree; criminal violation of protective order; assault in third degree; "The defendant, Oterrio R. Brown, appeals from the judgments of conviction, following a jury trial, of two counts of breach of the peace in the second degree, and of violation of a protective order and assault in the third degree.The defendant claims that the court improperly (1) granted the state's request for joinder of the two informations; (2) allowed the state to use prejudicial language during the voir dire process; and (3) denied the defendant's request for a continuance. We disagree and affirm the judgments of the trial court.")

AC42357 - State v. Jarmon (Home invasion; burglary in first degree; robbery in first degree; stealing firearm; (Motion to correct illegal sentence; "The defendant, James Jarmon, appeals from the judgment of conviction of home invasion in violation of General Statutes § 53a-100aa (a) (1), burglary in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-101 (a) (3), robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-134 (a) (4), and three counts of stealing a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-212 (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the state presented insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the operability of each firearm the defendant stole, (2) the trial court erroneously admitted into evidence a letter written by the then incarcerated defendant that was intercepted by a correction officer, and (3) the defendant's conviction of home invasion and burglary in the first degree violated his constitutional protection against double jeopardy. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Foreclosure Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3822

SC20188, SC20189 - Jenzack Partners, LLC v. Stoneridge Associates, LLC ("The plaintiff, Jenzack Partners, LLC (Jenzack), and the defendant Jennifer Tine (Tine) separately appeal from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which reversed the judgment of the trial court ordering strict foreclosure. See Jenzack Partners, LLC v. Stoneridge Associates, LLC, 183 Conn. App. 128, 143, 192 A.3d 455 (2018). These appeals require us to consider (1) whether an entity that was assigned a promissory note as well as a mortgage granted as collateral to secure a personal guarantee of that promissory note has standing to foreclose on the mortgage despite the fact that the guarantee was not explicitly assigned to the foreclosing party, and (2) whether an initial entry into a record of debt is admissible under the business records exception to the hearsay rule when that entry was provided by a third party in the course of the sale of the debt. As to the issue of standing, Tine claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that Jenzack had standing to foreclose a mortgage executed in support of a personal guarantee of a promissory note given by a third party because Jenzack did not receive a written assignment of the personal guarantee. As to the issue of hearsay, Jenzack claims that an adequate foundation was laid for the entirety of the record of debt to be admitted into evidence (exhibit 22) pursuant to the business records exception even though the initial entry was provided by a third party. Although we agree with the Appellate Court's conclusion that Jenzack had standing to foreclose the mortgage, we conclude that the Appellate Court incorrectly determined that the business records exception did not apply to Jenzack's calculation of the debt owed on the promissory note. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the Appellate Court.")

AC40222 - HSBC Bank USA, National Assn. v. Nathan ("The defendants, Leslie I. Nathan, Lynne W. Nathan, and Lynne W. Nathan, Trustee of the Lynne W. Nathan Trust Agreement dated November 19, 2001, appeal from the judgment of strict foreclosure and the judgment on their counterclaim, as amended, rendered by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, HSBC Bank USA, National Association, Trustee. On appeal, the defendants claim that the court erred in striking two of their special defenses, as amended, and their counterclaim, as amended. We reverse the judgments of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3823

AC41239 - Streifel v. Bulkley ("This appeal raises an issue of first impression in Connecticut: whether a patient may be liable under a theory of negligence for causing physical injuries to a medical care provider while that provider was furnishing medical care to the patient. We conclude, as a matter of law, that the law does not impose a duty of care on a patient to avoid negligent conduct that causes harm to a medical care provider while the patient is receiving medical care from that provider.")


Family Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3821

SC20058 - Puff v. Puff ("This postdissolution matter stems from the parties' oral stipulation following a motion for modification of alimony, the trial court's adoption of that stipulation as a court order, and subsequent litigation efforts by the defendant, Gregory Puff, on one hand, to carry the order into effect, and by the plaintiff, Claudia Puff, on the other hand, to challenge the order. At issue is the trial court's decision granting the defendant's motion for sanctions and for contempt and awarding him more than $169,000 in attorney's fees and expert fees, i.e., all the litigation expenses he had incurred following the entry of the order adopting the stipulation. In his certified appeal, the defendant challenges the Appellate Court's judgment reversing the judgment of contempt. See Puff v. Puff, 177 Conn. App. 103, 129, 171 A.3d 1076 (2017). He contends that the award was based on a broader course of conduct than the one part of the order considered by the Appellate Court and that the trial court's award was proper. On the basis of the trial court's articulation ordered by this court, we conclude that, insofar as the award is based on contempt, it cannot stand on any of the grounds articulated by the trial court. Insofar as the award is based on litigation misconduct, it lacks the requisite findings. We therefore affirm the Appellate Court's judgment but direct that court to remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings on the defendant's motion for sanctions for litigation misconduct.")


Connecticut Law Journal - January 7, 2020

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3819

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXI, No. 28, for January 7, 2020 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 334: Connecticut Reports (Pages 314 - 340)
  • Volume 334: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 195: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 131 - 179)
  • 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=3816

AC41571 - Kolashuk v. Hatch ("The plaintiff in error, Lawrence H. Adler, the attorney for the defendant, Kyle Hatch, filed a writ of error with our Supreme Court, challenging the sanctions issued against him by the trial court, Bates, J., and the imposition of attorney's fees ordered by the trial court, Calmar, J. The case of Bank of New York v. Bell, 142 Conn. App. 125, 63 A.3d 1026, cert. denied, 310 Conn. 901, 75 A.3d 30 (2013), and cert. denied, 310 Conn. 901, 75 A.3d 31 (2013), which stands for the proposition that a party may not be ordered to produce documents owned by or in the possession of third parties, is dispositive of Adler's claims. We, therefore, grant the writ of error.")