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.
Contract Law

Landlord/Tenant Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4977

SC20625 - AGW Sono Partners, LLC v. Downtown Soho, LLC (Commercial lease; "In the earliest months of the COVID-19 public health emergency, Governor Ned Lamont issued numerous executive orders that closed or severely restricted the operation of various businesses, including bars and restaurants, in order to stem the spread of the virus at that time. This appeal requires us to consider how those executive orders affected the enforceability of a commercial lease agreement for premises in South Norwalk that the defendants, Downtown Soho, LLC (Downtown Soho), and Edin Ahmetaj, leased from the plaintiff, AGW Sono Partners, LLC, for their fine dining restaurant. The defendants appeal, and the plaintiff cross appeals, from the judgment of the trial court awarding the plaintiff $200,308.76 in damages for the defendants' breach of that lease agreement. In their appeal, the defendants claim, inter alia, that the trial court incorrectly concluded that the common-law doctrines of impossibility and frustration of purpose did not relieve them of their obligations under the lease agreement, given the damaging economic effects of the various executive orders on their restaurant's business. In its cross appeal, the plaintiff claims that, in calculating the damages award, the trial court improperly allocated the burden of proof in determining whether the plaintiff had mitigated its damages when it leased the premises to a new tenant at a lesser rent than the defendants had paid. We conclude that the trial court correctly determined that the economic effects of the executive orders did not relieve the defendants of their obligations under the lease agreement but that a new damages hearing is required because the trial court improperly allocated the burden of proof as to mitigation in determining the damages award. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4976

AC42998 - Fiorillo v. Hartford (“This appeal and cross appeal have their origin in a breach of contract action commenced in 1999 by a group of retired Hartford firefighters (original plaintiffs) regarding their health insurance benefits. The parties reached a settlement agreement in 2003 in which the defendant, the city of Hartford, agreed to provide the original plaintiffs with a health benefits package that included medical, prescription drug, and dental benefits listed in a plan from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (Anthem). The agreement provides that this package would not change without the plaintiffs' written consent or a legislative mandate. The trial court, Cohn, J., incorporated this settlement agreement into its July 15, 2003 judgment. In 2017, the plaintiffs filed a motion for contempt, alleging that the defendant had violated the court's judgment by replacing and/or changing the health benefits package administered by Anthem to a Cigna administered health insurance plan and by altering the prescription drug plan. The plaintiffs alleged that these changes occurred without their written consent.

On January 24, 2019, the court determined that the defendant had violated the 2003 judgment by changing the health insurance plan administrator from Anthem to Cigna and the prescription drug plan administrator from Anthem to CVS. In its May 14, 2019 order, the court found, however, that the defendant was not in contempt because the evidence demonstrated that all of the insurance claims of the plaintiffs made under the Cigna plan had been paid in a manner identical to the Anthem plan and, therefore, that the defendant had not wilfully violated the 2003 judgment. The plaintiffs appealed and the defendant cross appealed.

On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court (1) improperly denied their motion for contempt and (2) effectively amended the 2003 judgment by incorporating the protocols submitted by the defendant. In its cross appeal, the defendant contends that the court incorrectly determined that it violated the 2003 judgment. We agree with the claim raised in the defendant's cross appeal and conclude that the court incorrectly determined that it violated the 2003 agreement. In the absence of a violation of the settlement agreement, there was no basis for a finding of contempt. As a result of this conclusion, we need not address the claims raised in the plaintiffs' appeal, and affirm the judgment denying the motion for contempt.”)


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4970

AC43413 - Byrne v. Avery Center for Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.C. (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) limited the testimony of its expert witness; (2) admitted into evidence a medical report, charged the jury concerning future noneconomic damages, and denied its request for a jury interrogatory differentiating between past and future damages; and (3) granted the plaintiff’s motion for offer of judgment interest pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2005) § 52-192a.2 We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)




Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4952

AC43874 - New Milford v. Standard Demolition Services, Inc. (“The defendant, Standard Demolition Services, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, the town of New Milford, on the plaintiff's complaint for breach of a contract entered into by the parties and as to all counts of a counterclaim filed by the defendant. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the court misapplied state and federal environmental regulations, (2) the court erred in not finding that the contract was impossible to perform, (3) the court improperly determined that the plaintiff lawfully had terminated the contract, and (4) evidence of certain change orders executed by the plaintiff in connection with a subsequent contract with a different contractor, pursuant to which the plaintiff had agreed to modify terms of that contract, constituted admissions that the plaintiff's contract with the defendant was defective and could not be performed by the defendant as written. The plaintiff has cross appealed, claiming that the court erred in its award of damages to the plaintiff. We affirm the judgment of the court in favor of the plaintiff on its complaint for breach of contract and as to all counts of the defendant's counterclaim, but we reverse it in part with respect to the award of damages and remand the case for a new hearing in damages.”)


Landlord/Tenant Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4941

AC44177 - Bernblum v. The Grove Collaborative, LLC ("In this action arising out of negotiations over a potential commercial lease, the defendants, The Grove Collaborative, LLC (The Grove), and its sole member, Slate Ballard, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered following a bench trial, in favor of the plaintiff, Steven Bernblum, and from the court's denial of the defendants' motion to reconsider/reargue. The defendants claim on appeal that the court improperly (1) concluded that the plaintiff had standing to bring those counts of the complaint sounding in breach of contract, 'breach of lease,' and 'detrimental reliance' (contract counts), because he, individually, was not a party to any purported lease or the lease negotiations that underlie the allegations with respect to those counts and (2) concluded that the plaintiff had established those counts sounding in negligent misrepresentation. We conclude that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring the contract counts and that he failed to meet his burden of proof with respect to the negligent misrepresentation counts. Accordingly, we reverse in part and affirm in part the judgment of the court.")

AC44720 - Housing Authority v. Neal ("In this summary process action brought by the plaintiff, the Housing Authority of the City of New Britain, against the defendant, Calvin W. Neal, the plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered following a hearing, denying its affidavit of noncompliance with stipulation, sustaining the objection of the defendant and requiring the parties to continue to perform their respective obligations pursuant to a stipulated agreement of the parties. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred (1) in finding that the defendant was not a tenant at sufferance, (2) in concluding that the requirements of General Statutes § 47a-11 did not apply to the defendant, and (3) in concluding that the filing of an affidavit of noncompliance was not the proper vehicle for addressing the alleged serious nuisance committed by the defendant after judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff, but before the plaintiff obtained possession of the premises occupied by the defendant. We agree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4932

AC44475 - Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. 50 Morgan Hospitality Group, LLC (“The plaintiff, Electrical Contractors, Inc., appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant Greython Construction, LLC (Greython), regarding claims arising out of a contract between the plaintiff and Greython pursuant to which the plaintiff, as Greython's subcontractor, was to complete work on a property owned by the defendant 50 Morgan Hospitality Group, LLC (50 Morgan). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in granting Greython's motion for summary judgment (1) based on language in the contract providing that payment by 50 Morgan to Greython was a "condition precedent" to Greython's obligation to make payments to the plaintiff, and (2) because Greython failed to present any evidence demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact either that it was not the cause of 50 Morgan's failure to make payment or that it had made a substantive effort to collect payment. We disagree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court.”)


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4934

AC44292 - Kling v. Hartford Casualty Ins. Co. ("The plaintiff, Michael Kling, appeals from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendant, Hartford Casualty Insurance Company. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in concluding that the defendant did not owe a duty to defend its insured, Newton Carroll doing business as Elm City Kettle Corn Company (Elm City), in connection with injuries that the plaintiff suffered as a result of Carroll's and Elm City's negligence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4914

AC43738 - Gleason v. Durden (“This case arises out of a dispute between siblings over the disposition of various parcels of real property they acquired from their mother and an uncle. The defendants, Marcella Durden and her husband, Andrew Durden, appeal from the judgment of the trial court finding in favor of the plaintiff, John Gleason, Marcella's brother, on his unjust enrichment claim as to a property the defendants acquired from the plaintiff and another brother, Charles Gleason. Specifically, the defendants claim that the court erred in rendering judgment for the plaintiff on his unjust enrichment claim because (1) the claim was time barred, (2) the court expressly found that the defendants never engaged in unjust or inequitable conduct, and (3) the agreement upon which the court based its judgment was not sufficiently definitive to support a claim of unjust enrichment and was never alleged in the plaintiff's complaint as a basis for recovery. The defendants further claim that the court erred in rendering judgment for Charles on the plaintiff's unjust enrichment claim because Charles was never an adverse party to the defendants and never asserted such a claim against them. With respect to the defendants' appeal, we reverse the judgment of the court.

The plaintiff cross appeals from the judgment of the court rendered in favor of the defendants on the plaintiff's remaining claims. Although the plaintiff's claim on his cross appeal is not entirely clear, he essentially argues that the court should have found that the defendants breached their obligations created by a "confidential relationship" that existed between the parties, awarded him additional damages arising from that breach, and ordered an accounting between the parties. As to the plaintiff's cross appeal, we affirm the court's judgment.”)


Tort Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4911

SC20556 - Dorfman v. Smith ("This appeal requires that we examine the scope of the litigation privilege, which provides absolute immunity from suit, in relation to alleged misconduct by an insurance company. The plaintiff, Tamara Dorfman, appeals from that part of the trial court's judgment dismissing her claims against the defendant Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA); General Statutes § 42-110a et seq.; based on a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA), General Statutes § 38a-815 et seq. The trial court dismissed these claims on the ground that the litigation privilege deprived the court of subject matter jurisdiction over these claims. The plaintiff argues that, because these claims were the functional equivalent of claims for vexatious litigation, the litigation privilege did not apply. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

SC20556 Concurrence & Dissent - Dorfman v. Smith

AC43956 - Pizzoferrato v. Community Renewal Team, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Gail Pizzoferrato, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her motion to open and vacate the judgment of the court rendered in favor of the defendant, Community Renewal Team, Inc., in accordance with a decision of an arbitrator that resulted from court-annexed arbitration.On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly denied her motion because the language of both General Statutes § 52-549z and Practice Book § 23-66 require that a decision of an arbitrator be sent to the parties both electronically and by mail before it can become a judgment of the court. Because notice of the arbitrator's decision was never sent to the parties or their counsel by mail in the present case, the plaintiff argues that the judgment of the court, rendered on the basis of the arbitrator's decision, should be vacated. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4901

AC43421 - Kellogg v. Middlesex Mutual Assurance Co. ("The defendant, Middlesex Mutual Assurance Company, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying its motion for summary judgment on the second revised and amended complaint filed by the plaintiff, Sally Kellogg, in which she raised claims of breach of contract, a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., arising from a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA), General Statutes § 38a-815 et seq., and promissory estoppel. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly denied its motion for summary judgment because (1) the breach of contract claim was barred pursuant to (a) the doctrine of res judicata and (b) the suit limitation provision of a "restorationist" property insurance policy issued by the defendant, (2) the CUTPA/CUIPA claim (a) was barred pursuant to General Statutes § 42-110g (f), the applicable statute of limitations, and (b) failed as a matter of law, and (3) the promissory estoppel claim (a) was barred pursuant to the suit limitation provision of the policy and (b) failed as a matter of law. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4892

AC43714 - Griffin Hospital v. ISOThrive, LLC ("This appeal concerns a dispute between the parties arising out of an agreement to study the potential benefits of a certain nutrition supplement on a group of overweight but otherwise healthy individuals. The central question at issue in this appeal is whether the plaintiff, Griffin Hospital, conducted the study in accordance with the study protocol agreed upon by the parties. After trial, the court found in favor of the plaintiff, concluding that the defendant, ISOThrive, LLC, had breached the research agreement by failing to pay a final invoice. The court found for the plaintiff, as well, on the defendant’s counterclaim, which alleged that the plaintiff had breached the research agreement by failing to conduct the study in accordance with the agreement’s research study protocol. Accordingly, the court awarded the plaintiff $68,204.12 on its breach of contract claim. Additionally, the court ordered the defendant to pay prejudgment interest at the rate of 8 percent for its wrongful detention of funds due to the plaintiff. This appeal followed.

On appeal, the defendant argues that the court improperly (1) concluded that the plaintiff was not obligated to perform an analysis to determine whether certain medications had the potential to interact with the supplement, (2) concluded that the term ‘‘overweight but otherwise healthy’’ was governed exclusively by the inclusion and exclusion criteria set forth in the parties’ agreement, (3) concluded that the plaintiff performed the study in accordance with the agreement, (4) awarded prejudgment interest to the plaintiff, and (5) found against the defendant on its counterclaim. We affirm the judgment of the court.")

AC43915 - Scient Federal Credit Union v. Rabon (''In this action seeking to recover credit card debt, the self-represented defendant, Mark Rabon, appeals from the judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, Scient Federal Credit Union, following the granting of the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. The defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and (2) denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4880

AC44243 - KDM Services, LLC v. DRVN Enterprises, Inc. ("The defendant, DRVN Enterprises, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered following a trial to the court, in favor of the plaintiff, KDM Services, LLC, in this action related to the sale and supply of deicing liquid at a property located in New London. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court abused its discretion by allowing the plaintiff to amend its complaint after trial. We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Landlord/Tenant Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4868

AC44379 - Tolland Meetinghouse Commons, LLC v. CXF Tolland, LLC ("The present appeal arises out of an action alleging breach of a commercial lease agreement against the defendant CXF Tolland, LLC (Cardio Express), and breach of a guaranty agreement against the defendant Peter A. Rusconi. Rusconi appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Tolland Meetinghouse Commons, LLC (Tolland Meetinghouse), granting Tolland Meetinghouse's motion for summary judgment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4866

AC43872 - Fairlake Capital, LLC v. Lathouris ("The defendants, Peter Lathouris and Patricia Spanos Lathouris, appeal from the judgment of the trial court denying their motion for summary judgment against the plaintiff, Fairlake Capital, LLC. The defendants claim that the trial court erred in denying their motion for summary judgment because the plaintiff's breach of guaranty claims against them are barred by the doctrine of res judicata. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4847

AC44215 - O'Donnell v. Axa Equitable Life Ins., Co. ("In this putative class action, the plaintiff, Richard T. O'Donnell, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered after it granted the motion filed by the defendant, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, for entry of judgment on the plaintiff's stricken complaint. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that his amended complaint (1) was not 'materially different' from his original complaint and (2) failed to adequately allege that the defendant's actions caused him damages. We agree with the plaintiff, and, accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4787

AC44368 - Cokic v. Fiore Powersports, LLC ("In this action, the plaintiff, Dejan Robert Cokic, brought various claims against multiple defendants seeking monetary damages in connection with the repair of a jet ski. The plaintiff and his attorney, Peter A. Lachmann, appeal from the judgment of the trial court awarding $893.75 in attorney's fees to the defendant Village Marina, LLC. On appeal, the plaintiff and Lachmann both claim that the trial court erred in granting the motion for attorney's fees and raise seven issues for our consideration. Insofar as the appeal was brought by Lachmann, the appeal is dismissed because Lachmann was not a party to the underlying action and, therefore, the court lacks jurisdiction over that portion of the appeal.Insofar as the appeal was brought by the plaintiff, however, the judgment of the trial court is reversed with respect to the award of attorney's fees, and the case is remanded for further proceedings on that issue.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4771

AC43813 - Lasso v. Valley Tree & Landscaping, LLC ("The plaintiffs, Kleber Gonzalo Loja Lasso, as administrator of the estate of the decedent, Luis Albaro Ortega Ortega (Ortega), and Marcia Del Lourdes Gualan Coronel (Coronel), appeal from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion of the defendant O & G Industries, Inc. (O & G), for summary judgment as to counts four and five of the revised complaint, which alleged claims against O & G for the wrongful death of Ortega pursuant to General Statutes § 52-555 and for loss of consortium on behalf of Coronel, who was married to Ortega at the time of his death. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly granted the motion for summary judgment filed by O & G because (1) issues of material fact existed concerning O & G's responsibility for ensuring safe workplace practices with respect to certain tree removal work performed by the defendant Valley Tree and Landscaping, LLC (Valley Tree), and (2) the court erred in failing to find, pursuant to a construction contract between O & G and the borough of Naugatuck (borough), that O & G owed a duty of care to Valley Tree and, hence, to Ortega. The plaintiffs also claim that the court improperly rendered summary judgment as to Coronel's loss of consortium claim against O & G, which was derivative of the negligence claim against O & G. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4762

AC43470 - Lippi v. United Services Automobile Assn. ("The plaintiffs, Kris J. Lippi and Gina M. Lippi, appeal from the trial court's rendering of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, United Services Automobile Association, on the plaintiffs' two count complaint that alleged breach of an insurance policy and extracontractual claims. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred by improperly granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4732

AC43830 - Connex Credit Union v. Thibodeau (Repossession and subsequent sale of a motor vehicle in a consumer goods secured transaction. "The defendant debtor, Michelle M. Thibodeau, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff secured party, Connex Credit Union, in this breach of contract action. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in determining that the plaintiff (1) provided notice of the right to an accounting as required by article 9 of the UCC, (2) provided a telephone number from which the defendant could learn the full amount she would need to pay in order to redeem her vehicle as required by article 9 of the UCC, and (3) satisfied the requirements of RISFA regarding the repossession and sale of a motor vehicle. On the basis of these claims, the defendant argues that the plaintiff was precluded from recovering any deficiency upon resale due to its alleged failure to adhere to the statutory requirements. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4725

AC44704 - Brookstone Homes, LLC v. Merco Holdings, LLC (Application for discharge of lis pendens, breach of contract; "This joint appeal was filed in two trial court cases to challenge the trial court's order in one case granting an application to discharge the lis pendens filed against multiple properties. We ordered the parties to file memoranda to address (1) whether this appeal should be dismissed as moot as to the order granting the application to discharge the lis pendens because that order has been recorded on the land records and (2) whether the appeal should be dismissed for lack of a final judgment as to the portion of the appeal taken as to the underlying breach of contract case that is still pending before the trial court. Having considered the memorandum submitted by the appellants, we dismiss the appeal.")