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Tort Law

Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4053

AC41809 - Maselli v. Regional School District No.10 (Summary judgment; assault and battery; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent infliction of emotional distress; negligence; recklessness; "The plaintiff, Theresa Maselli, as next friend of her minor daughter, Angelina Maselli, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Regional School District Number 10, which serves the towns of Burlington and Harwinton; its superintendent, Alan Beitman; the principal of Har-Bur Middle School (middle school), Kenneth Smith; and Robert Samudosky, a physical education teacher at the middle school and the coach of the girls soccer team. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment because (1) a jury reasonably could have concluded that Samudosky intended to batter Angelina when he kicked a ball during soccer practice that struck her, (2) a jury reasonably could have concluded that Samudosky is liable for battery for acting wantonly or recklessly when he kicked the ball, (3) the court improperly concluded that the defendants were entitled to governmental immunity pursuant to General Statutes § 52-557n (a) (2) (B) because the defendants had a duty to act and Angelina was an identifiable person to which the imminent harm exception to governmental immunity applied, and (4) the court improperly applied the governmental immunity analysis by considering whether Angelina was a member of an identifiable class of potential victims. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41834 - Mccullough v. Rocky Hill (Abuse of process; intentional infliction of emotional distress; trespass; trespass to chattels; fraudulent misrepresentation; invasion of privacy; summary judgment; governmental immunity; "The self-represented plaintiff, Stephen C. McCullough, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, the town of Rocky Hill, on all twelve counts of his operative complaint. On appeal, the plaintiff raises several claims that do not merit substantive discussion. The plaintiff further claims that the court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendant on (1) the intentional tort claims pleaded in his operative complaint and (2) his abuse of process claims. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41654 - Rozbicki v. Sconyers (Vexatious litigation; "The plaintiff, Zbigniew S. Rozbicki, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Frederick J. Laser (Laser), Laser Building Company, J. Michael Sconyers, and Ackerly Brown, LLP, on his one count complaint sounding in vexatious litigation. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the grounds that (1) the defendants had probable cause to assert special defenses and to file a counterclaim in a prior action commenced by the plaintiff against Laser and Laser Building Company (Laser defendants), and (2) the Laser defendants relied in good faith on the advice of J. Michael Sconyers and Ackerly Brown, LLP (Sconyers defendants), their counsel in the prior action, in asserting the special defenses and filing the counterclaim. We affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41759 - Gerrish v. Hammick (Defamation; tortious interference; "This is a tort action brought by the plaintiff, Michael Gerrish, against the defendant Matthew Willauer seeking to recover damages for injuries that he claims to have sustained as a result of an allegedly defamatory statement made by the defendant to the plaintiff's former employer, Quinnipiac University (Quinnipiac). The plaintiff appeals from the trial court's granting of summary judgment in favor of the defendant. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court, which initially had denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment, improperly granted (1) the defendant's motion to reargue and (2) upon reconsideration, the defendant's motion for summary judgment as to the defamation and tortious interference counts of his complaint. We disagree with both claims and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4048

AC42748 - Sackman v. Quinlan (Conversion; unjust enrichment; tortious interference with contract; whether trial court abused its discretion when it granted motion for permission to file motion for summary judgment; "This appeal arises from a dispute between the self-represented plaintiffs, the biological children of William Sackman, Jr. (William), from his marriage to Elaine Sackman (Elaine), and the defendants, who are the children of William's second wife, Nancy L. Sackman (Nancy), and one of the children's spouse. The plaintiffs appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the defendants on a motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court improperly (1) allowed the defendants to file a motion for summary judgment, (2) granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, and (3) failed to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. We disagree and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC42654 - Audibert v. Halle (Negligence; motion to set aside verdict and for new trial; "The plaintiff, Carole Audibert, brought this personal injury action against the defendant, Wesley Halle, for injuries she alleges she sustained as the result of an automobile accident on April 12, 2013, caused by the defendant's negligence. The case was tried to the jury, which returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in accordance with the jury's verdict. The plaintiff claims that (1) the court improperly admitted irrelevant evidence, (2) the court improperly failed to provide a curative instruction to the jury, (3) the defendant's counsel violated rule 3.4 (5) of the Rules of Professional Conduct during closing argument, depriving the plaintiff of a fair trial, and (4) the court abused its discretion by failing to set aside the verdict and to grant the plaintiff a new trial. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4040

SC20232 - Borelli v. Renaldi (Negligence; Municipal Police; Governmental and Qualified Immunity; "This appeal requires us to consider the narrow question of whether a town and its municipal police officers are shielded by governmental and qualified immunity from liability for the decision to initiate a high-speed police pursuit that lasted less than two minutes and ended in a fatal automobile accident. The plaintiff, Angela Borelli, administratrix of the estate of Brandon Giordano (decedent), appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants, the town of Seymour (town) and three officers of the Seymour Police Department (department), Officer Anthony Renaldi, Officer Michael Jasmin and Sergeant William King. The plaintiff claims that the trial court incorrectly concluded that (1) General Statutes § 14-283 (d) imposes a discretionary rather than a ministerial duty on police officers "to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and property" in determining whether to pursue a motorist who flees when an officer attempts to pull him or her over, and (2) the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that any issue of material fact remained regarding whether the decedent was an identifiable victim subject to imminent harm on the basis of the court's finding that there was no evidence in the record supporting that conclusion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4029

AC42419 - Scholz v. Epstein (Motion to dismiss; statutory theft; subject matter jurisdiction; absolute immunity; litigation privilege; "This appeal concerns an issue of first impression in Connecticut: whether an attorney is protected by absolute immunity under the litigation privilege from a claim of statutory theft arising from the attorney's conduct during prior judicial proceedings. The plaintiff, Stephen W. Scholz, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion of the defendant, Attorney Juda J. Epstein, to dismiss the plaintiff's action for statutory theft for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the ground that the defendant was protected by absolute immunity pursuant to the litigation privilege. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in (1) granting the defendant's motion to dismiss and determining that the litigation privilege affords the defendant absolute immunity from the plaintiff's action for statutory theft, which was brought pursuant to General Statutes § 52-564, (2) ruling that the public policy considerations underlying the litigation privilege are served by affording the defendant absolute immunity from civil liability for his alleged criminal conduct that was the basis for the statutory theft claim, (3) its application of the balancing of interests test set forth in Simms v. Seaman, 308 Conn. 523, 543–44, 69 A.3d 880 (2013), and (4) granting the motion to dismiss and determining that the defendant was absolutely immune from liability for statutory theft where some of the defendant's alleged criminal conduct was perpetrated outside the scope of judicial proceedings. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4014

AC42164 - Devine v. Fusaro (Wrongful death; subject matter jurisdiction; claim that trial court improperly granted motion to dismiss action on ground that it was barred by doctrine of sovereign immunity; "The plaintiff, Michael Devine, administrator of the estate of Timothy Devine (Devine), appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered after the granting of the motion filed by the defendants, Louis Fusaro, Jr., Steven Rief, Michael Avery, and Kevin Cook, to dismiss his wrongful death action, which involves the suicide of Devine after a standoff with law enforcement, including the defendants, who are members of the tactical unit of the State Police. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court incorrectly dismissed the action on the ground that it was barred by sovereign immunity. In granting the motion to dismiss, the court concluded that the facts alleged in the complaint satisfied all four criteria of the test set forth in Spring v. Constantino, 168 Conn. 563, 362 A.2d 871 (1975), rendering the lawsuit an action brought against the defendants in their official capacities. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC42154 - Ahrens v. Hartford Florists' Supply, Inc. (Product liability; motion to dismiss; personal jurisdiction; motion to implead; claim that trial court erred in granting motions to dismiss third-party complaint; claim that trial court applied incorrect standard when it found that strict compliance with statutes (§§ 52-102a and 52-577a (b)) was required when impleading third party into product liability case; "This appeal involves a dispute between Delaware Valley Floral Group, Inc. (Delaware), a defendant in the underlying tort action, and third-party defendants, Fall River Florist Supply Corporation (Fall River) and Pennock Company (Pennock). Delaware appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the third-party defendants' motions to dismiss its third-party complaint. On appeal, Delaware argues that the court erred in granting the motions by, inter alia, improperly construing General Statutes §§ 52-102a and 52-577a (b). We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3997

AC42183 - Anthis v. Windom (Negligence; recklessness; motion in limine; motion for remittitur; motion to open; "The defendant, Robert D. Windom, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying various motions that he filed in the present action commenced by the plaintiff, Kristine S. Anthis, in favor of whom the court rendered judgment following a jury trial. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly denied his (1) motion in limine, (2) motion for remittitur, and (3) motion to open, which, the defendant contends, effectively resulted in a double recovery by the plaintiff and a double payment by the defendant with respect to property damage expenses incurred by the plaintiff. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41333 - Greene v. Keating (Vexatious litigation pursuant to statute (§ 52-568); "The plaintiff, Brenda Greene, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendant law firm, Rucci, Burnham, Carta, Carello & Reilly, LLP, in the plaintiff's vexatious litigation action. On appeal, Greene claims that the court improperly concluded that, although she had established one of her vexatious litigation claims against the defendant, the defendant was entitled to judgment in its favor because Greene failed to prove the amount of her damages. Specifically, Greene claims that the court improperly concluded that she failed to present evidence that would allow the court reasonably to calculate damages in the form of attorney's fees. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39574 - Osborn v. Waterbury (Negligence; "This negligence action against the defendants, the city of Waterbury (city) and the Waterbury Board of Education (board), concerns the injuries that the minor plaintiff, Tatayana Osborn (child), sustained during a lunchtime recess at her elementary school. This appeal returns to us on remand from our Supreme Court following its reversal of this panel's prior decision. See Osborn v. Waterbury, 333 Conn. 816, 834, 220 A.3d 1 (2019) (holding that expert testimony not necessary to determine whether 'the defendants adequately supervised the children"). Our Supreme Court remanded the case to us "to consider the defendants' remaining claims on appeal.' Id. Those claims are that 'the trial court improperly (1) rejected [the defendants'] special defense of governmental immunity for discretionary acts, (2) concluded that the plaintiffs' injuries were caused when an inadequate number of adults were assigned to supervise up to 400 students when there was evidence that there were no more than 50 students on the playground . . . and [(3)] awarded damages intended to encourage continued therapy and occupational training for the child in the absence of evidence that she would need such services in the future.' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., 821–22. We agree with the defendants' second claim and, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the matter for a new trial.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3980

AC41561 - Dept. of Social Services v. Freeman (Conversion; child support lien; expert witness disclosure; "The defendant, Justin Freeman, a Hartford attorney, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered against him, after a jury trial, finding him liable for conversion and awarding damages to the plaintiff, the Department of Social Services. The judgment was based on the defendant's failure to comply with a child support lien against the settlement proceeds of a client's personal injury action, of which he allegedly had been given due notice, before distributing such proceeds to himself, his client's other creditors, and his client. The defendant, who claimed at trial that he had never been served with the notice of lien that the plaintiff alleged it had sent to him, asserts that the trial court erred by (1) allowing the plaintiff to disclose an expert witness immediately before the start of trial to support its claim that the notice of lien had likely been delivered to him because it had been mailed to the correct address, albeit not to the correct zip code, (2) allowing the plaintiff's counsel to question him before the jury as to a prior conversion action that had been brought against him by an unrelated third party, and (3) allowing the biological mothers of his client's two minor children to testify that his client owed them child support. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3973

SC20200 - Boone v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Product Liability; "The plaintiff, Geralynn Boone, the executrix of the estate of Mary Boone (decedent), brought the present action against the defendants, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Boehringer Ingelheim International, GmbH, alleging, inter alia, that an oral anticoagulant medication, Pradaxa, wrongfully caused the decedent's death. A jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants, from which the plaintiff now appeals. The plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly (1) precluded evidence and arguments related to spoliation, (2) prevented the plaintiff from using an excerpt from a particular deposition on rebuttal, (3) granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on a design defect claim relating to the absence of a reversal agent, and (4) issued a curative instruction to the jury after closing arguments. We disagree with each of these claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3955

AC42301 - Harris v. Neale (Negligence; motion to open judgment; "The plaintiff Victor Harris appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to open the judgment of dismissal rendered in favor of the defendants, Christine Neale and Christopher Neale. On appeal, Harris claims that the court abused its discretion in denying his motion to open. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3943

AC41672 - Manson v. Conklin (Negligence; "The plaintiff, Keith Manson, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered following a jury trial, in favor of the defendants, Daniel Conklin and the city of New Haven (city). The plaintiff brought the underlying negligence action against the defendants seeking compensation for damages he allegedly sustained when he collided with Conklin's police cruiser while riding his dirt bike on a municipal street. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) precluded him from impeaching Conklin about findings regarding his veracity made by his employer during unrelated internal affairs (IA) investigations and (2) submitted the issue of governmental immunity to the jury. We disagree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3941

SC20225 - Farrell v. Johnson & Johnson ("This certified appeal requires us to consider (1) when exhibits that otherwise would constitute inadmissible hearsay may be admitted to prove notice on the part of the defendant, Brian J. Hines, and (2) whether the tort of innocent misrepresentation extends to communications made by a physician during the provision of medical services. The plaintiffs, Mary Beth Farrell and Vincent Farrell, appeal, upon our grant of their petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the defendants Hines and Urogynecology and Pelvic Surgery, LLC, on numerous tort claims, including informed consent, innocent misrepresentation, and negligent misrepresentation, following an unsuccessful pelvic mesh surgery on Mary Beth. Farrell v. Johnson & Johnson, 184 Conn. App. 685, 688, 195 A.3d 1152 (2018). On appeal, the plaintiffs challenge the Appellate Court's conclusions that the trial court properly (1) excluded two medical journal articles from evidence as hearsay when they had been offered to prove notice, and (2) directed a verdict for the defendants on their innocent misrepresentation claims. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3910

SC20285 - Garcia v. Cohen ("In this negligence action, a jury returned a verdict finding the defendants, Robert Cohen and Diane Cohen, not liable as landlords for injuries the plaintiff, Ussbasy Garcia, suffered when she slipped and fell on the staircase outside of her apartment building. The plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Court, claiming that the trial court improperly rejected her request to charge and to instruct the jury that, the defendants, as the possessors of real property, had a nondelegable duty to maintain the premises. Garcia v. Cohen, 188 Conn. App. 380, 381–82, 204 A.3d 1245 (2019). The Appellate Court declined to review the plaintiff's claim, concluding that the general verdict rule applied because the plaintiff had failed to object when the trial court denied her request to submit her proposed interrogatories to the jury. Id., 386. Additionally, the Appellate Court concluded that the plaintiff should have made, but failed to do so, an independent claim of error on appeal on the basis of the trial court's denial of her request to submit her proposed interrogatories to the jury. Id., 386–87.

We disagree with the Appellate Court's conclusion that the general verdict rule bars appellate review of the plaintiff's jury instruction claim. The general verdict rule does not apply in the present case because the plaintiff had requested that the trial court submit her properly framed interrogatories to the jury and had objected when it denied her request. She properly framed her interrogatories by submitting questions addressing her claim of negligence and the defendants' denial of negligence and special defense of contributory negligence. The claims of negligence and contributory negligence are so intertwined with the plaintiff's nondelegable duty jury charge claim on appeal that the general verdict rule does not bar review. Additionally, the plaintiff was not required on appeal to assert an independent claim of error on the basis of the trial court's rejection of her request to submit the interrogatories to the jury. Rather, the plaintiff's submission of interrogatories and her objection upon the court's refusal to submit them to the jury is a defense to application of the general verdict rule, not an independent claim of error. For these reasons, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court and remand the case to that court to undertake a review of the trial court's denial of the plaintiff's request for a jury instruction on the nondelegable duty doctrine.")



Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3903

AC41989 - Jolley v. Vinton ("The self-represented plaintiff, Carlton Jolley, appeals from the judgment rendered in favor of the defendant, Captain Brian Vinton, a former administrative captain at the Enfield Correctional Institution (Enfield), in this action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendant retaliated against the plaintiff for providing legal advice to his fellow inmates while incarcerated at Enfield.Because we conclude that the trial court's finding that the plaintiff failed to prove a causal connection between his conduct and the alleged retaliation was not clearly erroneous, 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=3873

SC20122 - Rutter v. Janis (Negligence; "Subject to certain requirements, General Statutes § 14-60 (a) permits motor vehicle dealers to temporarily loan a dealer license plate to, inter alia, the purchaser of one of their vehicles while that purchaser's registration is pending, but "for not more than thirty days in any year . . . ." The dispositive issue in this certified appeal is whether, for purposes of calculating that thirty day period, the "first day" is the date on which the dealer loans the plate to the purchaser or the first full calendar day thereafter.

Following a fatal motor vehicle accident, the plaintiffs in this joint appeal, Casey Leigh Rutter, Nancy Beale, as administratrix of the estate of Lindsey Beale, and Jason Ferreira, each commenced an action against the defendant Danbury Fair Hyundai, LLC, a motor vehicle dealer whose dealer license plate was displayed on one of the vehicles involved in the accident. The trial court concluded that the accident occurred on the last day of the thirty day limitation period of § 14-60 (a) because the day during which the defendant loaned the plate was not included in the calculation of the thirty day period. The Appellate Court agreed and affirmed the judgments of the trial court; see Rutter v. Janis, 180 Conn. App. 1, 5, 182 A.3d 85 (2018); and we granted certification, limited to the issue of whether the Appellate Court correctly excluded the date of the loan when calculating the thirty day loan period. See Rutter v. Janis, 329 Conn. 904, 185 A.3d 594 (2018).

We agree with the Appellate Court that the day of the loan does not count toward the thirty day limitation period of § 14-60 (a). In particular, we conclude that the legislature's unqualified use of the term "days"—a term that has a well established legal meaning in our jurisprudence—indicates that it intended the thirty day period to be measured in terms of full calendar days. Therefore, because the day of the loan was a "fraction" of a day rather than a full calendar day, it must be excluded. This construction is consistent with this court's long recognized policy that, when calculating statutory and other deadlines, "the day of the act from which a future time is to be ascertained . . . is to be excluded from the calculation . . . ." Weeks v. Hull, 19 Conn. 376, 382 (1849). This court established, and has consistently adhered to, this rule as a matter of policy in order to ensure uniformity and predictability in the computation of deadlines, and we see no reason why it should not be applied to § 14-60 (a). Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")



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.")


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.")


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.")


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.")


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.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3793

AC41818 - Cyr v. VKB, LLC ("The plaintiff, Cynthia Cyr, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, VKB, LLC (VKB), Shady Oaks Assisted Living, LLC (Shady Oaks Assisted Living), Shady Oaks Rest Home, Inc. (Shady Oaks Rest Home), Vernon W. Belanger, and Kay F. Belanger. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants on all counts of her amended complaint when it (1) failed to require the defendants, as the movants for summary judgment, first to establish that there was no genuine issue as to any material fact, (2) determined that the defendants' alleged affirmative acts did not create the defect in the sidewalk, and (3) purportedly determined, as a matter of law, that a business owner that invites individuals to enter and exit its property at a particular location owes no duty to ensure that such location is reasonably safe. We affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


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