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.

Medical Malpractice Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4097

AC42145 - Carpenter v. Daar (Medical malpractice; motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction; "The plaintiff, Shane J. Carpenter, appeals from the judgment rendered by the trial court dismissing his medical malpractice action against the defendants, Dr. Bradley J. Daar (Daar), a dentist, and his business entity, Shoreline Modern Dental, LLC (Shoreline). The plaintiff claims that the court erred in determining that his certificate of good faith, specifically, the accompanying opinion letter, as supplemented by an affidavit filed with the plaintiff's objection to the motion to dismiss, (supplemental affidavit) failed to meet the requirements of General Statutes § 52-190a because the author of the opinion letter and supplemental affidavit, Dr. Charles S. Solomon (Solomon), was not a "similar health care provider" as defined in General Statutes § 52-184c.

The defendants counter that the certificate of good faith and its accompanying opinion letter did not demonstrate that Solomon was a similar health care provider under the definitions set forth in § 52-184c. They further assert, as alternative grounds for affirmance of the trial court's judgment, that the supplemental affidavit should not have been considered by the trial court because (1) it was procedurally improper for the plaintiff to have attempted to cure a § 52-190a (a) defect in an opinion letter attached to the complaint with information contained in a supplemental affidavit of the author of the opinion without amending the complaint; (2) it was obtained and submitted by the plaintiff after the two year statute of limitations in General Statutes § 52-584 had expired, and the court failed to state a factual basis to support the applicability of the accidental failure of suit statute, General Statutes § 52-592, which would have extended the statute of limitations for an additional year from the date the judgment of dismissal was entered in the first action; see General Statutes § 52-190a (a); and (3) without the supplemental affidavit, the opinion letter attached to the complaint did not contain sufficient information to demonstrate that Solomon is a similar health care provider to Daar under either definition of a similar health care provider set forth in § 52-184c. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. ")


Habeas Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4098

AC42894 - Whistnant v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas corpus; subject matter jurisdiction; "The petitioner, Jerry Lewis Whistnant, appeals following the denial of his petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the habeas court declining to issue a writ of habeas corpus for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Practice Book § 23-24 (a) (1). On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court improperly (1) denied his petition for certification to appeal, (2) declined to issue the writ of habeas corpus pursuant to § 23-24 (a) (1) without conducting a hearing, and (3) concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claims raised in his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. We conclude that the habeas court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petitioner's petition for certification to appeal, and, therefore, we dismiss the appeal.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4099

AC40886 - State v. Orr (Violation of probation; "In this violation of probation case, the self-represented defendant, Anthony D. Orr, appeals from the judgment rendered by the trial court after it found him in violation of his probation pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-32. On appeal, the defendant claims that his state and federal constitutional rights to due process, to a fair trial, and to be convicted upon sufficient evidence were violated. Specifically, he claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence pursuant to which the court could find by a preponderance of the evidence that he had violated the terms of his probation; (2) the court found that he had violated state laws with which he had not been charged; (3) the state suppressed evidence in violation of Brady; (4) the trial court abused its discretion by permitting the state to try the violation of probation case before it tried a criminal case that was then pending against him; (5) he was denied due process because he did not know the nature of the charges against him; and (6) the court violated the Code of Judicial Conduct. With respect to each of his claims, the defendant has requested that we review them pursuant to State v. Golding, 213 Conn. 233, 239–40, 567 A.2d 823 (1989), as modified by In re Yasiel R., 317 Conn. 773, 781, 120 A.3d 1188 (2015), the plain error doctrine, or for abuse of discretion. On the basis of our review of the record, the briefs, and arguments of the parties, we conclude that the defendant's claim of insufficient evidence is moot and his purported constitutional claims fail under the third prong of Golding because the claimed constitutional violations did not exist and the defendant was not denied due process or a fair trial. We, therefore, dismiss the defendant's claim of insufficient evidence and otherwise affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4096

SC20392 - Shoreline Shellfish, LLC v. Branford (Breach of contract; promissory estoppel; right of first refusal; "Given the geography of our state, which is bounded on the south by the Long Island Sound, shellfishing has a long and rich history in Connecticut. The first Connecticut laws regulating the taking of shellfish were created before the revolution, in the early eighteenth century. Connecticut State Register and Manual (2019) p. 825. By the late nineteenth century, oyster farming was a major contributor to the state's economy. Id. For a time, Connecticut had the largest fleet of oyster steamers in the world. Id. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, water pollution, disease, overharvesting, and other factors decimated historically abundant shellfish populations, but cleaner water and better management practices contributed to a rebounding shellfish population in recent years. The Nature Conservancy, "Private Shellfish Grounds in Connecticut: An Assessment of Law, Policy, Practice and Spatial Data" (January, 2010) p. 6. The shellfishing industry in Connecticut, too, has begun to rebound; today, the industry makes more than $30 million in annual sales.

The waters of the Sound are both a natural and an economic resource of the state, guarded jealously. Predictably, control over the shellfish industry is also guarded jealously and has long been subject to state and local legislation, including state legislation unique to a particular town in the present case, the defendant, the town of Branford. In this appeal, we are asked to resolve a dispute that has arisen not just between a local business and the town, but among that town's governing entities. At its core, this case involves a dispute over who has authority to lease shellfishing beds on the town's behalf, Branford's Shellfish Commission (commission) or its Board of Selectmen (selectmen).

The plaintiffs, Shellfish Partners, Ltd., and its general partner, Shoreline Shellfish, LLC, which had been granted the right of first refusal by the commission to lease certain shellfishing grounds located in Branford, appeal from the trial court's decision to render summary judgment in favor of the defendant on the ground that there was no genuine issue of material fact that the selectmen, and not the commission, had authority to bind the defendant to agreements relating to the leasing of shellfishing grounds pursuant to General Statutes § 26-266 and chapter 88 of the Branford Town Code (code). Specifically, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court improperly interpreted § 26-266 (a), which gives charge of shellfishing grounds to "[t]he selectmen . . . or shellfish commission," to grant both the commission and the selectmen authority to lease shellfishing grounds within the town, and, therefore, that the ordinance, § 88-8 of the code, which splits authority between the commission and the selectmen, is invalid on this basis. In the alternative, the plaintiffs claim that, even if the trial court properly interpreted § 26-266 and the ordinance as granting authority to both the commission and the selectmen, the trial court improperly interpreted the meaning of the phrase "owned by" in the ordinance, and, thus, there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendant owned the shellfishing ground at issue. We agree with the plaintiffs that, assuming that the ordinance does not conflict with § 26-266, on the basis of the clear and unambiguous language of the ordinance, there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the defendant "owned" the shellfishing ground at issue. Therefore, the trial court improperly rendered summary judgment, and we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings.")


July 29th Update to the Judicial Branch Home Page and COVID-19 Information Page

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4095

Below is a recent update to the Judicial Branch home page and COVID-19 information page:

For the most current information, see the COVID-19 information page. Additionally, there is a Frequently Asked Questions – COVID-19 and Court Business web page organized by topic.

  • Posted in:
  • FYI

Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4094

SC20358 - State v. Ramon A. G. ("The defendant, Ramon A. G., appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, among other crimes, of assault in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-61. The defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that he had (1) failed to preserve his claim that the trial court violated his constitutional rights by omitting a defense of personal property instruction with respect to the charge of assault, and (2) waived that unpreserved instructional claim. See State v. Ramon A. G., 190 Conn. App. 483, 211 A.3d 82 (2019). We disagree with the defendant and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Connecticut Law Journal - July 28, 2020

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4093

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXII, No. 4, for July 28, 2020 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 335: Connecticut Reports (Pages 212 - 225)
  • Volume 335: Orders (Pages 929 - 930)
  • Volume 335: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 199: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 282 - 367)
  • Volume 199: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


New Office of Legislative Research Reports

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4092

The Office of Legislative Research has published the following reports:

Issue Brief: Open Educational Resources - 2020-R-0178 - Open educational resources (OERs) are free and openly-licensed educational materials that are used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes.

Waiver of Certain Child Care Licensing Requirements in Response to COVID-19 - 2020-R-0130 - Provide an overview of the Executive Orders (EO) issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic that waive licensing and other requirements for child care centers in Connecticut.


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4091

AC41976 - Kovachich v. Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services (Employment discrimination; retaliation; mootness; "The defendant, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered following a court trial in favor of the plaintiff, Virlee Kovachich. The plaintiff filed a cross appeal. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) admitted into evidence settlement communications between the parties, (2) found that the defendant violated the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (act), General Statutes § 46a-60 et seq., by providing insufficient accommodations to the plaintiff and failing to engage in the interactive process required under the act, (3) precluded the defendant from cross-examining the plaintiff with deposition testimony that was changed through an errata sheet, and (4) determined that hearsay statements by any state employee, including statements from the plaintiff's union representatives, were admissible against the defendant as admissions by a party opponent. On cross appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly denied both her posttrial request to file a second amended complaint to conform to the proof at trial and motion to open the judgment. We agree with the defendant's first, third, and fourth claims 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=4090

AC42912 - Cohen v. Postal Holdings, LLC (Summary judgment; negligence; private nuisance; "The plaintiffs, Chad E. Cohen and Kirsten Cohen, appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Postal Holdings, LLC, on their operative two count complaint sounding in negligence and private nuisance. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court improperly concluded that (1) the defendant was not liable for negligence on the ground that there was no genuine issue of material fact that the defendant did not exercise control over the leased premises at issue and, therefore, did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiffs, who, at all relevant times, owned abutting property, and (2) the defendant was not liable for private nuisance on the ground that there was no genuine issue of material fact that the defendant did not interfere with the plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their abutting property. We disagree, and, accordingly, we affirm the summary judgment of the trial court.")


Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4089

AC42709 - Chelsea Groton Bank v. Belltown Sports, LLC (Foreclosure; "The defendants Belltown Sports, LLC (Belltown Sports), Sports on 66, LLC (Sports on 66), and Brian Cutler appeal from the judgment of foreclosure by sale rendered by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, Chelsea Groton Bank. On appeal, the defendants claim that the court improperly (1) rendered summary judgment as to liability in favor of the plaintiff and (2) concluded that the priority of a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan does not bar the plaintiff’s right to foreclose on its mortgage. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4088

AC42635 - Fazio v. Fazio (Dissolution of marriage; "The plaintiff, Madeline G. Fazio, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, Colin, J., granting the motion filed by the defendant, Michael A. Fazio, to modify or to terminate his alimony obligation. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred by (1) holding that it was bound by the prior finding of the trial court, Emons, J., of cohabitation pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-86 (b), (2) failing to make a factual finding as to the parties' intent regarding whether article 3.2 (a) of their separation agreement incorporated the remedial aspects of § 46b-86 (b), and (3) exceeding the scope of the remand order in the prior appeal of this case; see Fazio v. Fazio, 162 Conn. App. 236, 250–51, 131 A.3d 1162, cert. denied, 320 Conn. 922, 132 A.3d 1095 (2016) (Fazio I); by making factual findings that were contrary to the clear and unambiguous language of article 3.2 (b), essentially reforming that article of the agreement, when that article was not at issue. 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=4087

SC20327 - Lafferty v. Jones (Defamation; "This public interest appeal presents the opportunity to consider the scope of a trial court's inherent authority to sanction a party to litigation for his or her remarks about the case in light of that party's right to free speech under the first amendment to the United States constitution. The plaintiffs in these cases, a first responder and family members of those killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, brought these actions against the defendants, Alex Emric Jones and several of his affiliated corporate entities, claiming that statements made on Jones' radio show advancing certain conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook shooting were tortious in nature. The defendants appeal from the orders of the trial court sanctioning them by revoking their opportunity to pursue the special motions to dismiss provided by Connecticut's anti-SLAPP statute, General Statutes § 52-196a, issued after the trial court found that the defendants had violated numerous discovery orders and that Jones personally had engaged in harassing and intimidating behavior directed at the plaintiffs' counsel, Attorney Christopher Mattei. On appeal, the defendants claim, inter alia, that the trial court (1) improperly sanctioned the defendants because Jones' speech was protected under the first amendment, and (2) abused its discretion in sanctioning the defendants because the trial court improperly permitted discovery that exceeded the limited scope contemplated by § 52-196a (d). The defendants also claim that the trial court violated their due process rights by failing to afford them sufficient notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard before issuing the sanctions orders. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the trial court's sanctions orders.")



Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4086

SC20234 - In re Zakai F. (Whether Parent Who Temporarily Relinquished Custody and Seeks Reinstatement of Guardianship Rights Entitled to Constitutional Presumption that Reinstatement is in Child's Best Interest. "In this certified appeal, we must determine whether there is a constitutional presumption that reinstatement of guardianship rights to a parent under General Statutes § 45a-611 is in the best interests of the child and, if so, whether a heightened standard of proof is required to rebut that presumption. The respondent mother, Kristi F., appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which affirmed the trial court's denial of her motion for reinstatement of guardianship rights with respect to her minor son, Zakai F., on the basis that reinstatement was not in Zakai's best interests. See In re Zakai F., 185 Conn. App. 752, 755, 776–77, 198 A.3d 135 (2018). On appeal, the respondent contends that she is entitled to a presumption that reinstatement is in the best interests of the child and that she is also entitled to a heightened standard of proof.

We conclude that, under § 45a-611, once a parent demonstrates that the factors that resulted in the removal of the parent as guardian have been resolved satisfactorily, the parent is entitled to a presumption that reinstatement of guardianship rights is in the best interests of the child. We also conclude that the party opposing reinstatement must rebut this presumption by clear and convincing evidence. In the present case, because it is unclear whether the trial court applied this presumption, and because it did not determine that the petitioner had rebutted that presumption by clear and convincing evidence, we conclude that the trial court improperly denied the respondent's motion for reinstatement of guardianship. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


New Office of Legislative Research Reports

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4080

The Office of Legislative Research has published the following reports:

COVID-19 Executive Orders Affecting Older Adults - 2020-R-0184 - This report provides a brief summary of COVID-19 executive orders affecting older adults.

Probate Court Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic - 2020-R-0163 - Summarize the governor’s COVID-19 executive order (EO) that addresses Probate Court operations.


July 20 Updates to the Judicial Branch Home Page and COVID-19 Information Page

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4084

Below are recent updates to the Judicial Branch home page and COVID-19 information page:

For the most current information, see the COVID-19 information page. Additionally, there is a Frequently Asked Questions – COVID-19 and Court Business web page organized by topic.

  • Posted in:
  • FYI

Connecticut Law Journal - July 21, 2020

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4082

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXII, No. 3, for July 21, 2020 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 335: Connecticut Reports (Pages 174 - 211)
  • Volume 335: Orders (Pages 928 - 929)
  • Volume 335: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 199: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 115 - 281)
  • Volume 199: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Connecticut Guide to Remote Hearings For Attorneys and Self-Represented Parties

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4081

On July 17, 2020, the Judicial Branch released a Connecticut Guide to Remote Hearings For Attorneys and Self-Represented Parties


Amendments to the Connecticut Practice Book

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4079

On June 26, 2020, the judges of the Superior Court adopted amendments to the Practice Book. Most of these amendments become effective on January 1, 2021 except for the amendments to Sections 3-8 and 35a-21.

To find the current Connecticut Practice Book, including current and proposed revisions, see the court rules web page.


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