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.
Declaratory Judgment Law

Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4619

AC43888 - Wright v. Dzurenda ("The self-represented plaintiff, Ian Wright, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, dismissing count four of his complaint, brought against the defendant Bonnie Hakins, a counselor for the Department of Correction (department), in her individual capacity, on the ground that the plaintiff's action is barred for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred (1) in determining that he had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and (2) in considering the defendant's special defense that the plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies because the defendant had waived that special defense. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4596

AC43141 - Kenmore Road Assn., v. Bloomfield ("In this declaratory judgment action, the plaintiff, Kenmore Road Association, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a court trial, in favor of the defendant, the town of Bloomfield. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in concluding that Kenmore Road had neither been impliedly dedicated to public use nor impliedly accepted as a public road by the defendant or the public. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4598

AC43653 - Rockstone Capital, LLC v. Caldwell ("In this strict foreclosure action, we consider the enforceability of a settlement and forbearance agreement (settlement agreement) entered into by the plaintiff, Rockstone Capital, LLC, the defendants, Vicki A. Ditri and Morgan J. Caldwell, Jr., and Caldwell's business, Wesconn Automotive Center, LLC (Wesconn), that resulted from a collections action brought by the plaintiff against Caldwell and Wesconn. The plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a court trial, in favor of the defendant, on her special defense that the settlement agreement was unconscionable and, therefore, unenforceable. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the trial court improperly concluded that the settlement agreement was both procedurally and substantively unconscionable as to the defendant. We agree and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4597

AC43755 - Lift-Up, Inc. v. Colony Ins. Co. ("In this declaratory judgment action, the substitute plaintiffs, Dennis Kinman (Kinman) and Amy Kinman (jointly, Kinmans), appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant Colony Insurance Company (Colony) on the Kinmans' amended complaint and Colony's counterclaim.The litigation centers on whether Colony had a duty to defend the original plaintiffs, Lift-Up, Inc. (Lift-Up) and its president, Bruce Kutner, in a personal injury action that the Kinmans had brought against them. On appeal, the Kinmans' principal claim is that in granting Colony's motion for summary judgment, the court improperly construed the allegations of the operative complaint and the terms of the garage liability policy that Colony had issued to Lift-Up.More to the point, the Kinmans claim that the court improperly concluded as a matter of law that their injuries were not caused by an accident that resulted from Lift-Up's garage operations but, rather, arose out of Kutner's assault, battery, or assault and battery, for which the policy provides no coverage. The Kinmans also claim that the court improperly (1) ignored extrinsic evidence that they argue supported their claim that Colony had a duty to defend and (2) predicated its ruling on allegations of intentional and/or reckless conduct that were properly pleaded in the alternative. We 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=4542

AC43984 - Warzecha v. USAA Casulty Ins. Co. ("The plaintiff, Keith Warzecha, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court, Noble, J., in favor of the defendant, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, on the plaintiff's two count amended complaint, which alleged breach of contract and sought a declaratory judgment. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in concluding that he was not entitled to liability coverage under the terms of his insurance policy. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4396

AC42885, AC42886 - Peterson v. iCare Management, LLC ("These two appeals arise from consolidated cases. The defendants in both actions, iCare Management, LLC, SecureCare Realty, LLC, and SecureCare Options, LLC (defendants), appeal from the judgments of the trial court denying their motions for summary judgment, in which they argued that the plaintiffs' claims were barred by res judicata and/or collateral estoppel. On appeal, the defendants claim that the trial court erred in denying their motions because the plaintiffs' claims were previously litigated in an earlier action. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4383

SC20494 - Casey v. Lamont ("...we turn to the matter before us, which requires this court to consider the extent of the governor's authority to issue executive orders during the civil preparedness emergency he declared pursuant to General Statutes § 28-9 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we consider whether the defendant, Governor Ned Lamont, lawfully issued certain executive orders that limited various commercial activities at bars and restaurants throughout the state. To that end, we must determine whether the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a "serious disaster" pursuant to § 28-9 and whether that statute empowers the governor to issue the challenged executive orders. Because we conclude that § 28-9 provides authority for the governor to issue the challenged executive orders, we also consider whether § 28-9 is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the governor in violation of the separation of powers provision of the Connecticut constitution. See Conn. Const., art. II. We conclude that the statute passes constitutional muster.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4363

SC20377 - Francis v. Board of Pardons & Paroles ("The plaintiff, Ernest Francis, an inmate in a Connecticut correctional facility, brought this declaratory judgment action, proceeding pro se, against the defendants, the Board of Pardons and Paroles (board) and the Commissioner of Correction (commissioner). The plaintiff sought a judgment declaring that General Statutes § 54-125g applies to him, that the commissioner must factor his eligibility for early release under § 54-125g into his 'time sheet,' and that the commissioner must 'schedule dates to determine [his] suitability for release.' Thereafter, the trial court, sua sponte, ordered the parties to file briefs addressing the issue of whether the plaintiff's claims were ripe for review given that, even if § 54-125g applied to the plaintiff, he would not be eligible for parole under the statute for several years. After a hearing on that issue, the trial court concluded that the plaintiff's claims were not ripe and dismissed the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Court, which affirmed the judgment in a memorandum decision. Francis v. Board of Pardons & Paroles, 189 Conn. App. 906, 204 A.3d 1263 (2019). This court granted the plaintiff's petition for certification on the following issue: 'Did the Appellate Court properly uphold the trial court's dismissal of the plaintiff's declaratory judgment action as not ripe?' Francis v. Board of Pardons & Paroles, 333 Conn. 907, 215 A.3d 731 (2019). We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4350

AC42630 - Derblom v. Archdiocese of Hartford ("The plaintiffs—Maria J. Derblom, in her capacity as the executrix of the estate of Fred H. Rettich; eleven former students of Our Lady of Mercy School (OLM), a defunct Catholic school in Madison, and their parents; and Our Lady of Mercy School of Madison, Inc., which operates a private school that purports to be the successor of OLM—appeal from the judgment of the trial court granting a motion to dismiss filed by the defendant, the Archdiocese of Hartford, on the ground that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring an action concerning a bequest from Rettich to OLM. According to the plaintiffs, the court improperly (1) construed Rettich's bequest as an outright gift to OLM rather than as an endowment that resulted in a constructive charitable trust and (2) concluded that the plaintiffs lack standing because the state's attorney general has the exclusive authority to bring an action to enforce Rettich's gift and that the plaintiffs' reliance on a common-law special interest exception to that exclusive authority was misplaced because the exception is limited to actions involving charitable trusts and, thus, is not applicable in the present case. We disagree with the plaintiffs and affirm the judgment of the court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4316

SC20486 - Fay v. Merrill ("The principal issue in this public interest appeal is whether Governor Ned Lamont's Executive Order No. 7QQ, which was later ratified by the legislature; see Public Acts, Spec. Sess., July, 2020, No. 20-3, § 16 (Spec. Sess. P.A. 20-3); and which modified General Statutes (Rev. to 2019) § 9-135 by adding 'COVID-19' as a permissible reason for absentee voting, violates article sixth, § 7, of the Connecticut constitution. The four plaintiffs, who were candidates for the Republican Party's nomination for United States Congress for Connecticut's First and Second Congressional Districts, appealed directly pursuant to General Statutes § 52-265a from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendant, Denise W. Merrill, Secretary of the State, in this action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the defendant's change of the absentee ballot application for the August 11, 2020 primary election (August primary) to add coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a new reason for requesting an absentee ballot pursuant to Executive Order No. 7QQ. Following deliberations after an expedited oral argument held on August 6, 2020, we ruled from the bench that (1) the plaintiffs were aggrieved and had standing to bring the declaratory judgment action, (2) we could not consider, for the first time on appeal, the defendant's special defense of laches as an alternative ground for affirming the judgment of the trial court, and (3) Executive Order No. 7QQ does not violate article sixth, § 7, because the phrase 'unable to appear at the polling place on the day of election because of . . . sickness,' as used in that constitutional provision, is not limited to an illness suffered by the individual voter that renders that person physically unable to travel to the polling place. Accordingly, we affirmed the judgment of the trial court and indicated that a written opinion would follow. This is that opinion.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4256

AC42667 - Village Mortgage Co. v. Garbus ("In this declaratory judgment action, the defendants, Ronald Garbus and Georganne Garbus, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, declaring that the defendants are not lawful stockholders of the plaintiff, Village Mortgage Company. The defendants claim that the court improperly concluded that the plaintiff's cause of action is akin to an equitable claim for injunctive relief subject to the doctrine of laches, rather than a legal claim for tortious financial misconduct subject to the statute of limitations, specifically General Statutes § 52-577. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4128

AC43008 - Jeweler v. Wilton (Declaratory judgment; "This case concerns the reconfiguration of lot lines in an existing resubdivision. The plaintiffs, Richard S. Jeweler and Derry Music Company, own seven parcels of land situated between Millstone Road and Hickory Hill Road in Wilton. They brought this action seeking a declaratory judgment that certain boundary line adjustments among those parcels do not require subdivision approval under General Statutes § 8-18. The trial court concluded that the boundary line adjustments proposed by the plaintiffs did not constitute a subdivision pursuant to § 8-18, but did constitute a resubdivision thereunder. We disagree with the latter conclusion and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4114

AC41417 - Prime Locations of CT, LLC v. Rocky Hill Development, LLC (Declaratory judgment; "This case was brought by the plaintiffs, Prime Locations of CT, LLC, Hasson Holdings, LLC, SMS Realty, LLC, and C&G Holdings, LLC, to prevent one of the defendants, Luke DiMaria, from constructing a crematorium on a lot in the Coles Brook Commerce Park in Cromwell. The plaintiffs appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a court trial, in favor of the defendants MPM Enterprises, LLC, (MPM Enterprises) and DiMaria. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the court (1) improperly concluded that the Declaration of Easements, Covenants and Restrictions (declaration), which created a common interest community, the Coles Brook Commerce Park Owners Association, LLC (association), to govern the use of the property in the business park, did not prevent the defendants from voting to withdraw from the association a lot formerly owned by MPM Enterprises and currently owned by DiMaria, (2) improperly concluded that the defendants were entitled to connect a lot to the association's drainage system, (3) improperly concluded that the plaintiffs' cause of action was barred by the doctrines of laches and equitable estoppel, and (4) erred in declining to grant the plaintiffs' request for a permanent injunction prohibiting DiMaria from constructing a crematorium on his lot without approval from the association. We disagree with the plaintiffs and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4100

SC20315 - Praisner v. State (Indemnification; Sovereign Immunity; "The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether the Appellate Court correctly concluded that a university police officer is not a member of a "local police department" entitled to indemnification under General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 53-39a. The plaintiff, Martin J. Praisner, Jr., argues that the Appellate Court erred in concluding that a university's special police force is not a "local police department" for purposes of § 53-39a, and that the legislature, by limiting coverage to local police departments, did not intend for university special police forces to be covered under this statute. We conclude that the Appellate Court correctly interpreted § 53-39a and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")

SC20477 - Fay v. Merrill ("The four plaintiffs, who are candidates in the August 11, 2020 primary election (August primary) for the Republican Party's nomination for the office of United States Representative for Connecticut's First and Second Congressional Districts, brought this original jurisdiction proceeding pursuant to General Statutes § 9-323 against the defendant, Denise W. Merrill, in her official capacity as the Secretary of the State. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief challenging the defendant's "ruling of an election official," which added a seventh category for absentee voting, "COVID-19," to the application for absentee ballots (application) for the August primary in contemplation of the ongoing coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) global pandemic. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant's change to the application violates article sixth, § 7, of the Connecticut constitution because (1) she acted pursuant to Governor Ned Lamont's Executive Order No. 7QQ, which itself violates article sixth, § 7, of the Connecticut constitution, and (2) it expanded the application beyond the existing limitations set forth by General Statutes § 9-135. The plaintiffs also claimed that the application is inconsistent with the terms of Executive Order No. 7QQ. The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, contending, inter alia, that the court lacked jurisdiction under § 9-323 because that election contest statute does not apply to primaries, and, in any event, the plaintiffs' constitutional challenge is not one that is cognizable under the election contest statutes. After a hearing held on July 20, 2020, this court granted the motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under § 9-323. This written opinion followed.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4044

AC42131 - State Marshal Assn. of Connecticut, Inc. v. Johnson (Declaratory action; motion to dismiss; "The plaintiff, State Marshal Association of Connecticut, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing its declaratory action against the defendants, Erin Johnson, the tax collector of the town of Canton (town), and Pullman & Comley, LLC (Pullman). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that it lacked standing to maintain the action and (2) denied the plaintiff's motion seeking reargument and reconsideration. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Foreclosure Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3990

SC20182 - Saunders v. KDFBS, LLC (Foreclosure; final judgment; declaratory judgment; "The issue in this foreclosure action is whether a determination of the priority of mortgages can be challenged in an appeal from the judgment of foreclosure by sale, before the foreclosure sale has taken place, when the priority of the foreclosing plaintiff's mortgage is in dispute. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Roger Saunders, Trustee of Roger Saunders Money Purchase Plan, on his two count complaint seeking a judgment of foreclosure on certain real property and a declaratory judgment that his mortgage had priority over a purported mortgage on the property held by the defendants Karen Davis and Daniel Davis. The Appellate Court summarily dismissed the Davis defendants' appeal challenging the priority of the plaintiff's mortgage over their mortgage for want of a final judgment. We distinguish the present case from one in which there is a dispute among junior encumbrancers and reverse the Appellate Court's order summarily dismissing the appeal.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3957

AC42550 - Gawlik v. Semple (Religious discrimination; "The self-represented, incarcerated plaintiff, Jan Gawlik, brought this action for declaratory and injunctive relief against present and former employees of the Department of Correction (department)—namely, former Commissioner of Correction Scott Semple, District Administrator Angel Quiros, Warden Scott Erfe, and Simone Wislocki, a mail handler at the Cheshire Correctional Institution (Cheshire)—in their official capacities. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants had wrongly withheld from him religious literature, blank prayer cards and holiday cards in violation of his rights under the first amendment to the United States constitution; article first, § 3, of the constitution of Connecticut; the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq. (2012); and the Connecticut Act Concerning Religious Freedom, General Statutes § 52-571b. The plaintiff also alleged that the applicable department administrative directives justifying the department's actions were not promulgated in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act, General Statutes § 4-166 et seq. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the defendants, from which the plaintiff now appeals. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3927

AC42251 - Vaicunas v. Gaylord ("The plaintiffs, David Vaicunas and Joseph Kobos, appeal from the judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Regina R. Gaylord, Kevin McGuire, Deborah Foster, John McGuire, and Scott McGuire, on the count of the complaint alleging undue influence exerted on Helen Rachel in amending The Helen K. Rachel Revocable Trust Indenture. The plaintiffs also appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered after it granted the motion by the defendants to set aside the jury’s verdict in favor of Vaicunas on the count for adverse possession of certain real property owned by Helen Rachel. On appeal, Vaicunas claims that the court improperly set aside the jury verdict with respect to adverse possession, and both plaintiffs claim that the court (1) abused its discretion by declining to admit the plaintiffs’ offer of evidence as to the character of Helen Rachel, which was relevant to their claim for undue influence and (2) improperly charged the jury on the law of undue influence. We conclude that the trial court properly set aside the verdict on the claim for adverse possession and, as to the plaintiffs’ claim of undue influence, we reject their assertions of evidentiary and instructional error on the part of the court. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")



Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3912

AC42288 - Kaminski v. Semple ("The self-represented plaintiff, John S. Kaminski, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the defendants' motion to dismiss on the grounds that the defendants, who are state employees, are entitled to sovereign immunity or statutory immunity pursuant to General Statutes § 4-165, and that the plaintiff lacked standing to assert a claim that was based on the defendants' alleged failure to conduct a criminal investigation into the abuse he claimed had been inflicted on him by a correction officer. The plaintiff contends that, because all of the defendants were sued in their individual capacities, the court improperly concluded that the defendants were entitled to sovereign immunity and statutory immunity. We affirm the judgment of the trial court in part and dismiss the appeal in part as moot.")


1 2 3