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Tort Law

Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4656

AC42834 - Ulanoff v. Becker Salon, LLC ("The plaintiff, Andrea Ulanoff, who alleges she was injured when she walked into a set of glass doors, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered following a jury trial, in favor of the defendants, Becker Salon, LLC (salon), and Becker Chicaiza. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred when it precluded her from (1) introducing into evidence a photograph of the entrance to the salon, showing see-through glass doors with no lettering or handles, that was on the salon's website, and (2) questioning her witness, Vanessa Savio, about the appearance of the glass doors on a date previous to the date of the plaintiff's accident. She further claims that the cumulative effect of the court's erroneous rulings was harmful and likely affected the outcome of the trial. We agree with the plaintiff's claims and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4642

AC43382 - Kloiber v. Jellen ("In this property dispute among neighbors, the self-represented plaintiffs, Alfred J. Kloiber and Melanie McNichol, appeal from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendants, Chris Jellen and Linda Jellen. On appeal, the plaintiffs raise a variety of issues related to the court's disposition of their trespass, private nuisance, negligence, and statutory negligence claims. Following supplemental briefing by the parties on the issue of standing, we conclude that the plaintiffs lacked the requisite standing to maintain this action. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case with direction to render a judgment of dismissal.")


Civil Rights Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4637

AC42648 - Vossbrinck v. Hobart ("The self-represented plaintiff, Karl Paul Vossbrinck, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Brian Hobart. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that the defendant, as a state marshal, was entitled to sovereign immunity, (2) concluded that the defendant was entitled to statutory immunity pursuant to General Statutes § 6-38a (b), and (3) failed to address his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim. We agree with the plaintiff that the defendant was not entitled to sovereign immunity. We nevertheless conclude that the court properly determined that no genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the defendant is entitled to statutory immunity under § 6-38a (b). Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4636

AC43215 - Carolina Casualty Ins. Co. v. Connecticut Solid Surface, LLC ("An essential element of a claim of vexatious litigation is that the prior civil action underlying the claim must have terminated in favor of the proponent of the claim.See Blake v. Levy, 191 Conn. 257, 263, 464 A.2d 52 (1983). The dispositive issue in the present appeal is whether a prior action that ended in the summary dismissal of the action by agreement of the parties constitutes such a favorable disposition. We conclude that it does not.

The defendant and cross claim plaintiff, Connecticut Solid Surface, LLC (CT Solid Surface), appeals from the summary judgment rendered on its vexatious litigation cross claim by the court in favor of the cross claim defendant, Attorney Howard Kantrovitz. It claims that the court improperly concluded that Kantrovitz was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because CT Solid Surface had failed to demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the prior action underlying the vexatious litigation cross claim had terminated in its favor, particularly in light of undisputed evidence that the parties to the prior action had reached a settlement that resulted in the court's dismissal of that action. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4608

AC43085 - Belevich v. Renaissance I, LLC ("The plaintiff, Robert Belevich, and the intervening plaintiff, Yale University (Yale) (collectively, plaintiffs), appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Renaissance I, LLC (Renaissance), B & W Paving & Landscaping, LLC (B & W), and Winstanley Property Management, LLC (Winstanley) (collectively, defendants), on Belevich's one count complaint sounding in premises liability arising out of his alleged slip and fall. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the basis of the ongoing storm doctrine because (1) the defendants did not establish the absence of a genuine issue of material fact as to the applicability of the doctrine, and (2) the court improperly, albeit implicitly, shifted the burden to the plaintiffs to negate the applicability of the doctrine, contending that the defendants should have been required to demonstrate that the ongoing storm produced the black ice on which Belevich allegedly fell. We affirm the summary judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4595

AC43881 - Gutierrez v. Mosor ("The defendant, Daniel Mosor, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Julio Gutierrez, after the defendant was defaulted for failing to appear at a deposition prior to a trial to a jury on the issue of damages. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court abused its discretion by (1) defaulting him for a single failure to attend the deposition, (2) refusing to set aside the default, and (3) sustaining the plaintiff's objection to the defendant's motion for permission to file a notice as to the hearing in damages, which precluded him from offering any evidence contesting liability at the trial before the jury. We agree with the defendant's first claim and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4591

SC20454 - Raspberry Junction Holding, LLC v. Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority ("The plaintiff, Raspberry Junction Holding, LLC, the owner of a 164 room hotel in North Stonington, commenced this negligence action against the defendant, Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority, a municipal corporation that provides water to twenty-one towns and boroughs in southeastern Connecticut, seeking damages for economic losses it incurred when an explosion at the defendant's North Stonington pumping station caused an interruption in the hotel's water service. The defendant moved for summary judgment, contending that (1) it was immune from liability under rules it had adopted pursuant to the rule-making authority conferred on it by the legislature, and (2) the plaintiff's claim was barred by the economic loss doctrine, a common-law rule, which, "generally characterized, reflects the principle that a plaintiff cannot sue in tort for purely monetary loss unaccompanied by physical injury or property damage." Raspberry Junction Holding, LLC v. Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority, 331 Conn. 364, 368 n.3, 203 A.3d 1224 (2019). The trial court, Vacchelli, J., agreed with the defendant's first contention and granted its motion for summary judgment. Id., 368. The plaintiff appealed, and this court reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded the case for consideration of the defendant's alternative ground for summary judgment. Id., 378. Presently before us is the plaintiff's appeal from the judgment of the trial court, Calmar, J., again granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment, this time on the theory that the defendant owed the plaintiff no legal duty of care. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court incorrectly determined that the defendant could not be held liable for the plaintiff's losses because public policy does not support the imposition of a duty on the defendant under the circumstances of this case. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of that court.")

  • SC20454 Concurrence - Raspberry Junction Holding, LLC v. Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority


Business Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4581

SC20500 - Normandy v. American Medical Systems, Inc. ("The principal issue in this appeal is whether a hospital that purchases, stocks, and supplies a medical device, and then bills a patient for its use during surgery, is a "product seller," as defined by General Statutes § 52-572m (a), for purposes of imposing strict liability under the Connecticut Product Liability Act (product liability act).See General Statutes § 52-572m et seq. The named plaintiff, Debra Normandy, appeals from the trial court's granting of the motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant Bristol Hospital, Inc., with respect to her complaint alleging injuries arising from the defendant's violations of, inter alia, the product liability act, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., and the common law. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the trial court incorrectly concluded that (1) the defendant was not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability under the product liability act, and (2) her CUTPA and common-law claims were time barred because the statutes of limitations applicable to those claims were not tolled. We conclude that the defendant, as a hospital, is not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability pursuant to the product liability act under the circumstances of this case, in which the defendant provided general information regarding various medical procedures on its website and did not significantly participate in placing the medical device at issue into the stream of commerce. We further conclude that the statutes of limitations governing the plaintiff's CUTPA and common-law claims were not tolled. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4569

SC20502 - Maghfour v. Waterbury ("The defendant, the city of Waterbury (city), appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Rochdi Maghfour. On appeal, the city contends that the trial court improperly granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment because it erroneously concluded that General Statutes § 7-464, as amended by § 1 of No. 17-165 of the 2017 Public Acts (P.A. 17-165), did not authorize the city's lien in this case. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4562

SC20508, SC20509, SC20510 - Doe v. Madison ("These appeals present several issues of governmental immunity under General Statutes § 52-557n arising from the sexual abuse of the plaintiffs, John Doe I, John Doe II and John Doe III, by Allison Marchese (Allison), who was an English teacher at their high school, the Daniel Hand High School (high school) in Madison. The plaintiffs appeal from the judgments of the trial court granting the motions for summary judgment filed by the defendants, the town of Madison (town), the Board of Education of the Town of Madison (board), and Anthony Salutari, Jr., the principal of the high school, on the ground of governmental immunity. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court incorrectly concluded that (1) there was no genuine issue of material fact with respect to whether the teachers and football coaching staff at the high school had reasonable cause to believe that Allison was sexually abusing the plaintiffs, which would have triggered their ministerial duty to report suspected child abuse under No. 5120.4.2.5 of the board's policies and bylaws (board reporting policy) and the mandatory reporting statutes, General Statutes §§ 17a-101 and 17a-101a, (2) the testimony of Craig Semple, the high school's athletic director, did not establish a ministerial duty of professionalism, (3) they were not identifiable persons subject to imminent harm for purposes of that exception to discretionary act immunity under § 52-557n (a) (2) (B), and (4) John Doe III did not plead or establish a ministerial duty on the part of the town's police officers, one of whom was assigned as the high school's school resource officer, to monitor the high school's security camera footage. We disagree with the plaintiffs' claims and affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4560

AC43087 - Buehler v. Newtown ("This is a premises liability action brought by the plaintiff, Albert Buehler, against the defendants, the town of Newtown (town), the Newtown Board of Education (board), and Gregg Simon, the former athletic director of Newtown High School, arising out of injuries he sustained after he fell from a referee stand while officiating a volleyball match at Newtown High School. The plaintiff appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants on the ground that they are entitled to governmental immunity. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants because there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the plaintiff was an identifiable victim under the identifiable person-imminent harm exception to governmental immunity. We disagree and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the court.")

AC43919 - Graham v. Commissioner of Transportation ("The substitute plaintiff, Ethan Raymond Graham, the administrator of the estate of the plaintiff, Barry Graham, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to set aside a jury verdict in favor of the defendant, the Commissioner of Transportation, after the jury found the defendant not liable for the plaintiff's motor vehicle accident and resulting injuries under the defective highway statute, General Statutes § 13a-144. On appeal, the substitute plaintiff claims that the trial court (1) abused its discretion by refusing to accept the jury's initial verdict, and by returning the jury to continue its deliberations to rectify an inconsistency in its verdict, and (2) erred with respect to the instruction that it gave to the jury prior to returning the jury to continue its deliberations. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4543

AC42828 - Allen v. Shoppes at Buckland Hills, LLC ("The plaintiff, Charles Allen, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in accordance with the jury verdict in favor of the defendants Shoppes at Buckland Hills, LLC (Buckland Hills), and AlliedBarton Security Services, LLC (AlliedBarton), the company that provided security services for Buckland Hills. The plaintiff claimed that he had suffered serious physical injuries when he attempted to stop what he believed was a serious crime at Buckland Hills, a shopping mall, while off duty from his position as a police officer with the town of East Granby. The plaintiff claims on appeal that the court improperly (1) instructed the jury on superseding cause, (2) instructed the jury that General Statutes § 54-1f imposes a restriction, rather than an affirmative duty, on off duty police officers, and (3) failed to instruct the jury on duties owed by a possessor of land to invitees. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4516

AC43898 - Fain v. Benak ("The defendant Department of Administrative Services appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Marie Fain, in this negligence action following a trial to the court. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in (1) declining to apply the "unavoidable accident doctrine" to the facts of the case and (2) granting the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration after it determined that she presented sufficient evidence to support an award of damages for future medical expenses. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4505

AC42164 - Devine v. Fusaro ("This appeal requires us to determine whether the plaintiff in this wrongful death action seeking to recover money damages has sued four state police officers in their individual capacities or, conversely, whether the action is barred by sovereign immunity because the plaintiff has sued those officers only in their official capacities. We conclude that the plaintiff's complaint, properly construed, alleges a claim for money damages against the officers in their individual capacities....

"The motion for reconsideration was granted by the panel, which rendered action on the motion by the full court unnecessary. Upon reconsideration, we now conclude, for the reasons that follow, that the trial court improperly dismissed the action on the ground that it was barred by sovereign immunity. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for further proceedings.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4501

SC20359 - DeMaria v. Bridgeport ("This certified appeal requires us to consider the extent to which a medical record is admissible as evidence pursuant to General Statutes § 52-174 (b) when that record contains an expert opinion and the author cannot be subject to cross-examination. The plaintiff, Victor DeMaria, appeals, upon our grant of his petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which reversed the judgment of the trial court rendered in accordance with a jury verdict awarding the plaintiff damages for injuries stemming from his fall on a sidewalk of the defendant, the city of Bridgeport. See DeMaria v. Bridgeport, 190 Conn. App. 449, 451, 211 A.3d 98 (2019). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly determined that the trial court should not have admitted into evidence a medical record containing the medical opinion of the plaintiff's treating physician assistant, Miriam Vitale, pursuant to § 52-174 (b), when the defendant was unable to cross-examine Vitale. We agree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4451

AC42985 - McCrea v. Cumberland Farms, Inc. ("In this negligence action regarding injuries sustained by the plaintiffs, Yolanda McCrea and Derrick Pettway, in a motor vehicle accident, the jury returned a general verdict in favor of the defendants, Cumberland Farms, Inc. (Cumberland Farms), and its employee, Trevor Johnie. The trial court thereafter denied the plaintiffs' motion to set aside that verdict and rendered judgment accordingly. On appeal, the plaintiffs contend that the court improperly (1) permitted the defendants' counsel to pursue certain lines of questioning that allegedly were irrelevant and prejudicial, and (2) prevented the plaintiffs from testifying that the reason they were referred to certain medical providers by their attorney was because of a lack of adequate medical insurance. The defendants respond by arguing that the general verdict rule precludes our consideration of the plaintiffs' evidentiary claims. We agree with the plaintiffs' second claim and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC43513 - Elder v. Kauffman ("The plaintiff, Joseph S. Elder, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing, on the grounds of res judicata and collateral estoppel, his complaint alleging defamation and invasion of privacy brought against the defendants, Matthew Kauffman and The Hartford Courant Company, LLC (Courant). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendants' special motion to dismiss because (1) res judicata is not applicable to the anti-SLAPP statute, General Statutes § 52-196a, (2) res judicata is not applicable to this case, and (3) § 52-196a is unconstitutional as applied in this case because its application infringed on his state constitutional rights to redress and to a trial by a jury. We affirm the judgment of the trial court."")

AC42902 - Rousseau v. Weinstein ("The plaintiffs, Robert Rousseau and Preferred Display, Inc. (Preferred Display), appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants Mark H. Dean, Mark H. Dean, P.C., Richard P. Weinstein, and Weinstein & Wisser, P.C. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim the court erred by holding that (1) the marital dissolution action between Rousseau and Madeleine Perricone was not a prior pending action and (2) the defendants had probable cause to continue a civil action based on similar claims against Rousseau in the dissolution action. We conclude that probable cause to continue the action existed and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4443

AC41912 - Robb v. Connecticut Board of Veterinary Medicine ("The plaintiff, John M. Robb, a veterinarian, appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing his administrative appeal from the decision of the defendant Connecticut Board of Veterinary Medicine (board) disciplining him upon a finding of professional negligence pursuant to General Statutes § 20-202 (2). On appeal, we distill the plaintiff's claims to be that the court incorrectly concluded that (1) the board properly construed General Statutes § 22-359b, as well as § 22-359-1 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, in finding him to have been professionally negligent under § 20-202 (2), (2) there was substantial evidence supporting the board's finding that he had failed to obtain informed consent from one of his clients with respect to his rabies vaccination protocol, and (3) the board did not exceed its authority or abuse its discretion in imposing its disciplinary order. We affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.")

AC42931 - Solon v. Slater ("This appeal arises out of an action by the plaintiff, Linda Yoffe Solon, in which she alleges that the defendants, Joseph M. Slater and Joshua Solon, tortiously interfered with (1) contractual relations regarding an antenuptial agreement executed by the plaintiff and her deceased husband, Michael Solon (decedent), and (2) the plaintiff's right of inheritance from the decedent's estate. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in rendering summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the basis that her claims were barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel by virtue of a prior decree of the Probate Court.We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4433

AC44115 - Disturco v. Gates in New Canaan, LLC ("The defendant, Gates in New Canaan, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying its motion to open the judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Jean M. Disturco, after the defendant was defaulted for failure to appear. The defendant claims that the court improperly (1) determined that it had failed to satisfy General Statutes § 52-212 and (2) ruled on its motion to open without a hearing after the court had granted the defendant's motion to reargue. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC42877 - Dobie v. New Haven ("The defendant city of New Haven appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered following a jury trial, in favor of the plaintiff, William Dobie.On appeal, the defendant contends that the court improperly denied its posttrial motion to dismiss, which was predicated on the plaintiff's alleged failure to comply with the requirements of General Statutes § 13a-149, commonly known as the defective highway statute. See Ferreira v. Pringle, 255 Conn. 330, 331, 766 A.2d 400 (2001).We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4420

AC42779 - Elder v. 21st Century Media Newspaper, LLC (Fair report privilege; “On appeal, the plaintiff claims that (1) the evidence supporting the defendants’ motions for summary judgment was insufficient, (2) the defendants failed to demonstrate actual reliance on a government document or proceeding, (3) the court erred by finding that the defendants’ publications were fair and accurate accounts of the government document on which they claimed to have relied, (4) the defendants did not rebut his claims of malice, which entitled him to a trial on the merits of those claims, and (5) his right under article first, § 10, of the Connecticut constitution to redress for injuries to his reputation and his right to a trial by jury on that claim, defeat the fair report privilege. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4412

AC43260 - Pollard v. Bridgeport (" 'An abutting landowner is ordinarily under no duty to keep the sidewalk in front of his [or her] property in a reasonably safe condition for public travel. Tenney v. Pleasant Realty Corp., 136 Conn. 325, 329, 70 A.2d 138 (1949). An abutting landowner can be held liable, however, in negligence or public nuisance for injuries resulting from the unsafe condition of a public sidewalk caused by the landowner's positive acts. See Gambardella v. Kaoud, 38 Conn. App. 355, 359, 660 A.2d 877 (1995).' Abramczyk v. Abbey, 64 Conn. App. 442, 446, 780 A.2d 957, cert. denied, 258 Conn. 933, 785 A.2d 229 (2001). In the present case, we conclude, as a matter of law, that the abutting landowner is not liable for the injuries sustained by a traveler on a public sidewalk who trips and falls over a defect in the sidewalk caused by the roots of a tree growing on the landowner's property, as the growth of tree roots is not a positive or affirmative act of the landowner.

In this trip and fall personal injury action, the plaintiff, LaJeune Pollard, appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendant Seaside Village Homes, Inc. (Seaside). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly granted summary judgment because genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether Seaside is liable for her injuries (1) due to its negligence or (2) for maintaining a nuisance that caused the defect in the sidewalk. On the basis of our review of the record, we conclude that there is no genuine issue of material fact that Seaside undertook no positive or affirmative act that caused the defect in the sidewalk where the plaintiff alleged that she fell. We, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


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