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 Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3101

SC19923 - Mendillo v. Tinley, Renehan & Dost, LLP ("In this appeal, we consider whether the Superior Court has subject matter jurisdiction over a declaratory judgment action brought as a collateral attack on a judgment of the Appellate Court concerning the plaintiff, George E. Mendillo. The plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his declaratory judgment action against the defendants, the law firm of Tinley, Renehan & Dost, LLP (law firm), and the Connecticut Appellate Court. On appeal, the plaintiff, who is an attorney, claims that the trial court improperly concluded that his challenge to the Appellate Court’s interpretation of rule 4.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct in Sowell v. DiCara, 161 Conn. App. 102, 127 A.3d 356, cert. denied, 320 Conn. 909, 128 A.3d 953 (2015), was barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. We, however, do not reach the sovereign immunity issues raised by the plaintiff because we agree with the defendants’ alternative jurisdictional argument, and conclude that the plaintiff’s collateral attack on Sowell in this declaratory judgment action is nonjusticiable under Valvo v. Freedom of Information Commission, 294 Conn. 534, 985 A.2d 1052 (2010). Accordingly, 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=3099

AC39966 - Hilario's Truck Center, LLC v. Rinaldi ("The principal issue in this appeal is whether a company that provided automobile towing services to an insured motorist has standing as a third-party beneficiary to bring a direct breach of contract action against the insurance company that provided automobile liability coverage to the insured. We conclude, under the circumstances of this case, that the company is not an intended third-party beneficiary of the insurance contract and therefore lacks standing to bring a direct action against the insurer.")


Landlord / Tenant Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3100

AC39847 - Magee Avenue, LLC v. Lima Ceramic Tile, LLC ("The plaintiff, Magee Avenue, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendering summary judgment in favor of the defendant, Moufid Makhraz, on the plaintiff’s complaint alleging two counts of breach of contract and one count of unjust enrichment. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly (1) rendered summary judgment because the defendant’s affidavit in support of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment was untimely and insufficient; (2) permitted and considered the defendant’s testimony during the hearing on the motion; and (3) permitted the defendant to amend orally his motion for summary judgment to include all counts when the written motion only sought relief from the two counts of breach of contract. We agree with the plaintiff’s claims and reverse the judgment.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3094

AC39171 - State v. Ayala (Risk of injury to child; sexual assault in fourth degree; "The defendant, Walter Bobby Ayala, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of two counts of sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a (a) (1) (A), and one count of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to disclose redacted portions of the victim’s mental health records following the court’s in camera review of the records pursuant to State v. Esposito, 192 Conn. 166, 471 A.2d 949 (1984), thereby violating his sixth and fourteenth amendment right to confrontation. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40433 - State v. Jackson (Murder; conspiracy to commit murder; assault in first degree; "The defendant, Raashon Jackson, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a), one count of conspiracy to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a- 48 (a) and 53a-54a (a), and four counts of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a- 59 (a) (5). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court: (1) abused its discretion and deprived him of his rights to a fair trial and to present a defense when it denied his motion to preclude the testimony of the state’s belatedly disclosed expert witness and refused to afford him a continuance to retain his own expert, (2) abused its discretion in admitting the testimony of the state’s expert without conducting a Porter hearing, (3) abused its discretion and deprived him of his right to present a defense when it excluded exculpatory evidence in the form of his investigator’s testimony, (4) deprived him of his right to present a defense when it excluded exculpatory evidence regarding the discovery of a gun used in the crimes, and (5) abused its discretion in admitting certain consciousness of guilt evidence and instructing the jury as to that evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40125 - State v. Rogers (Murder; conspiracy to commit murder; assault in first degree; "The defendant, Roderick Rogers, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a consolidated jury trial, of one count of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a), one count of conspiracy to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-54a (a), and four counts of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (5). On appeal, he claims that the trial court improperly (1) precluded the introduction of evidence that one of the firearms used in the shooting of the victims was eventually found in the possession of a third party, (2) excluded evidence of a text message conversation he claims was relevant to third-party culpability in violation of his right to present a defense pursuant to the sixth and fourteenth amendments to the federal constitution, and (3) admitted into evidence maps depicting the location of cell phones, and related testimony, without first conducting a Porter hearing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Workers' Compensation Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3097

AC40535 - Barker v. All Roofs by Dominic (Workers' compensation; "The defendant, the city of Bridgeport (city),appeals from the decision of the Compensation Review Board (board) affirming the finding and order of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the Third District (commissioner) holding that the city was the principal employer of the plaintiff Christopher Barker when he suffered a compensable injury while working for an uninsured subcontractor of the city on city property, and thus that the city was liable, pursuant to General Statutes § 31-291, for all workers’ compensation benefits3 due to him in connection with that injury. The city claims that the board erred in affirming the decision of the commissioner that the city was liable to the plaintiff as his principal employer because (1) § 31-291 does not apply to governmental entities and (2) even if § 31-291, in theory, can apply to a municipality, it does not impose principal employer liability on the city in this case because one fact essential to establishing such liability—that the work being performed by the plaintiff when he was injured was a part or process of the city’s trade or business—has not been satisfied. We affirm the decision of the board.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3098

AC39462 - Gaskin v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas corpus; "It has been usual for trial judges, when instructing jurors on how to weigh the credibility of witnesses, to tell them to consider whether the witness has an interest of whatever sort in the outcome of the trial that might influence or color the witness’ testimony. In the petitioner’s criminal trial, however, the jury never received important evidence of a cooperating witness’ interest in the outcome. This appeal requires us to examine a situation where a necessary cooperating witness, the only one who put the defendant at the crime scene with the likely murder weapon in his hand, falsely denied before the jury any promise from the state in exchange for his testimony and such falsity was not disclosed to the jury, but the prosecutor argued in summation to the jury that the witness had ‘‘everything to lose, nothing to gain,’’ by giving statements to the police and testifying. We hold this scenario to be antithetical to due process under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution.

The petitioner, Christopher Gaskin, filed this appeal following the denial of his petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court: (1) abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal; (2) erred in finding that the petitioner’s due process claim was procedurally defaulted; and (3) in addressing the merits, erred in finding that the state did not deprive the petitioner of his due process rights when it did not correct a witness’ known false testimony at the underlying criminal trial. We agree with all of the petitioner’s claims as they pertain to his underlying convictions of murder and conspiracy to commit murder under General Statutes §§ 53a-54 and 53a-48, respectively. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the habeas court and remand the case to the habeas court with instruction to render judgment granting the peti- tion for a writ of habeas corpus, vacating the petitioner’s underlying convictions of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, and ordering a new trial on those charges. We affirm the judgment as to the petitioner’s underlying conviction of tampering with a witness under General Statutes § 53a-151.")

AC39802 - Mercado v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas corpus; ineffective assistance of trial counsel; "The petitioner, Marcos Mercado, appeals from the denial of his petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal and improperly rejected his claim that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance. Specifically, the petitioner claims that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing: (1) to take appropriate measures at trial to preclude the introduction of evidence of the petitioner’s prior commission of crimes; (2) to take appropriate measures to preclude, or failing to call an expert to challenge, the state’s introduction of firearms and ballistics evidence; and (3) to adequately preserve an issue for appellate review. We conclude that the habeas court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3096

AC39163 - Davis v. Property Owners Assn. at Moodus Lake Shores, Inc. ("The plaintiffs . . . appeal from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendant Property Owners Association at Moodus Lake Shores, Inc. The plaintiffs claim on appeal that the court erred by (1) denying their motions in limine seeking to preclude the defendants' experts from testifying and (2) not finding that the plaintiffs had an easement by implication over the defendants' property. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Land Use Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3095

SC19730 - Kutcha v. Arisian (Zoning; "'The outdoor sign or symbol is a venerable medium for expressing political, social and commercial ideas.' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Metromedia, Inc. v. San Diego, 453 U.S. 490, 501, 101 S. Ct. 2882, 69 L. Ed. 2d 800 (1981). The primary issue we must resolve in this case is whether General Statutes § 8-2, which authorizes a municipality's zoning commission to regulate the height, size, and location of 'advertising signs and billboards,' permits a municipality to regulate signs erected on residential property that disparage a commercial vendor.

The plaintiff, the zoning enforcement officer for the city of Milford, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying the plaintiff's request for permanent injunctions ordering the defendant homeowner . . . to remove signs on her property that were not in compliance with city zoning regulations and precluding the defendant from occupying the property until she obtained certain certificates required after home improvements had been made to her residence. We conclude that the defendant's signs are not 'advertising signs,' and, accordingly, the trial court properly concluded that municipal regulation of such signs is outside the scope of the authority granted under § 8-2. We further conclude that the trial court properly exercised its discretion when it declined to issue an injunction precluding the defendant from occupying the subject premises.")





Property Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3091

SC19750 - Walgreen Eastern Co. v. West Hartford (Property tax appeal; assessments; "The plaintiff, Walgreen Eastern Company, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying, in part, its appeal from the decision of the Board of Assessment Appeals (board) of the defendant, the town of West Hartford (town). The trial court concluded that the plaintiff had established aggrievement under General Statutes § 12-117a because the town overvalued its property. The court then found a new valuation for the subject property and ordered the town to provide the plaintiff with the appropriate reimbursement or credit for any overpayment plus interest. In addition, the trial court also determined that the town's assessment was not manifestly excessive under General Statutes § 12-119.

In the present appeal, the plaintiff claims that, although the trial court correctly determined that the plaintiff had established aggrievement by showing that the town's valuation of the property was excessive, it incorrectly (1) determined the true and actual value of the subject property, and (2) concluded that the town's valuation of the subject property was not manifestly excessive. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Connecticut Law Journal - July 17, 2018

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3090

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXX, No. 3, for July 17, 2018 is now available.

Contained in this issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 328 Conn. Replacement Pages 444 - 444
  • Volume 328 Conn. Replacement Pages 451 - 452
  • Volume 328 Conn. Replacement Pages 557 - 558
  • Volume 329: Connecticut Reports (Pages 440 - 484)
  • Volume 329: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 183: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 320 - 495)
  • Volume 183: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 901 - 901)
  • Volume 183: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Habeas Appellate Law Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3086

AC33424 - St. Juste v. Commisssioner of Correction ("The petitioner claimed that the habeas court improperly rejected his claim that his trial counsel had rendered ineffective assistance because he failed to inform him that if he were convicted of the crime of assault in the second degree, his conviction would result in his certain deportation. In 2015, this court dismissed the appeal on mootness grounds. St. Juste v. Commissioner of Correction, 155 Conn. App. 164, 181, 109 A.3d 523 (2015). In 2018, following a grant of certification to appeal, our Supreme Court reversed the judgment of this court and remanded the case to this court with direction to consider the merits of the petitioner’s appeal. St. Juste v. Commissioner of Correction, 328 Conn. 198, 219, 177 A.3d 1144 (2018). Having done so, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3083

AC39372 - Handel v. Commissioner of Social Services (Administrative appeal; application for Medicaid benefits; "The plaintiff, Heather Handel, conservatrix for her father, Robert Wojciechowski (applicant), appeals from the judgment of the trial court affirming the denial of certain Medicaid benefits by the defendant, the Commissioner of Social Services, and dismissing her administrative appeal from that denial. On appeal to this court, the plaintiff claims that she is entitled to the relief requested—Medicaid coverage for a specified period of months—because the decision denying that relief was not issued by the Department of Social Services (department) within the time period mandated by law. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40061 - Clark v. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (Administrative appeal; suspension of motor vehicle operator's and commercial driver's licenses by defendant Commissioner of Motor Vehicles; "When a driver is suspected of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, our statutes require that law enforcement commence any consensual chemical alcohol tests within two hours of such operation. Otherwise, the results of those tests, although ostensibly valid, are neither admissible nor competent evidence of operation under the influence. In an administrative appeal from the suspension of both his standard and commercial operator's licenses, the plaintiff, James P. Clark, challenged, among other things, the finding of the defendant, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (commissioner), that his failed chemical alcohol tests were timely. The Superior Court was not persuaded and dismissed his appeal. The plaintiff now appeals, claiming that the court improperly (1) determined that there was substantial evidence in the record to support a finding that there was probable cause to arrest him for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and (2) denied his motion to reargue or for reconsideration. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3084

AC39977 - Hum v. Silvester (Injunction; whether trial court correctly determined that defendants had prescriptive easement over shared driveway; "This appeal centers on an easement for shared use of a driveway over a lot of land in Stonington providing access to an adjacent lot. The plaintiffs, Chi Hum and Mai Lee Yue Hum, owners of the burdened lot, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in favor of the defendants, Mark S. Silvester and Nancy J. Hoerrner. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court improperly found on the basis of the evidence that (1) the defendants were entitled to a prescriptive easement over the driveway, (2) the defendants were entitled to an implied easement over the driveway, and (3) granting an implied easement was legally consistent with the grant of a prescriptive easement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3082

SC19863 - State v. Norman P. (Sexual assault in spousal relationship; assault of elderly person second degree; assault of elderly person third degree; certification from Appellate Court; "The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether the Appellate Court properly concluded that the trial court lacked discretion to refuse to mark records for identification following the court's determination that the defendant, Norman P., had failed to make the requisite showing to require an in camera review of those records. State v. Norman P., 169 Conn. App. 616, 639–40, 151 A.3d 877 (2016). We conclude that the trial court had no such discretion. This certified appeal arises from the defendant's conviction of three counts of sexual assault in a spousal relationship in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70b, one count of assault of an elderly person in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60b, and one count of assault of an elderly person in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-61a.The state claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the trial court had improperly declined to conduct an in camera review of the complainant's privileged records from Interval House, an organization that provides counseling and other services to domestic violence victims, and that the trial court also improperly declined to mark those records for identification. The state additionally challenges the Appellate Court's conclusion that, in declining to admit into evidence the defendant's entire written statement to the police, the trial court misinterpreted § 1-5 (b) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence and our relevant case law applying that rule. We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court on the basis of our conclusion that the trial court improperly refused to mark for identification the complainant's privileged records from Interval House, and that the court further abused its discretion in declining to review those records in camera. Because the issue is likely to arise on remand, we also address the state's claim that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that the defendant's entire written statement was admissible pursuant to § 1-5 (b). Although we agree with the Appellate Court that the trial court misinterpreted § 1-5 (b) and our relevant case law applying that rule, we disagree that the entire statement should have come into evidence pursuant to that rule. To the contrary, our application of § 1-5 (b) leads us to conclude that only a portion, rather than the entirety, of the defendant's prior statement should have been admitted.")

SC19518 - State v. Jan G. (Murder; assault of elderly person third degree; "The issue we must resolve in this appeal is whether the trial court's decision to allow the defendant to testify in narrative form caused him to be self-represented during his testimony without a proper waiver of his right to counsel. The defendant claims that State v. Francis, 317 Conn. 450, 452, 118 A.3d 529 (2015), wherein this court held that the defendant, Maurice Francis, was self-represented during his narrative testimony and that his waiver of the right to counsel was not voluntary, controls the present case and requires a new trial. Because of the factual distinctions between this case and Francis, however, we conclude that our decision in that case does not control the outcome of the present appeal. Instead, on the basis of our review of the facts and circumstances of the present case, we conclude that the defendant was not self-represented during his testimony and, therefore, is not entitled to a new trial. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38602 - State v. Taveras (Violation of probation; revocation of probation; whether words defendant used to express frustration with preschool staff member constituted fighting words or true threat under first amendment to United States constitution or under statute proscribing breach of peace in second degree (§ 53a-181 [a] [1] and [3]); "The defendant, Kerlyn M. Taveras, appeals from the judgments of the trial court finding him in violation of his probation and revoking his probation pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-32, following his arrest on a charge of breach of the peace in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-181 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that the state adduced insufficient evidence at his probation revocation hearing to establish a violation of probation. Central to the defendant's claim of insufficient evidence is whether the words he used spontaneously to express his frustration with his child's preschool staff, which formed the basis for his violation of probation, constituted "fighting words" or a "true threat," two forms of speech that are not protected by the first and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution. Under the facts and circumstances of the present case, we conclude that the defendant's speech did not constitute "fighting words" or a "true threat" and, for that reason, cannot be proscribed by § 53a-181 (a) consistent with the first amendment. We therefore agree with the defendant that the evidence adduced at his probation revocation hearing was insufficient to establish a violation of probation and, accordingly, reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand the cases with direction to render judgments in favor of the defendant.")

AC40254 - State v. Petitpas (Sexual assault in first degree; sexual assault in second degree; sexual assault in fourth degree; unlawful restraint in second degree; risk of injury to child; motion to correct illegal sentence; "The defendant, Chad Petitpas, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence under Practice Book § 43-22. On appeal, the defendant claims that the sentencing court materially relied on inaccurate information pertaining to his age and criminal record. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")



Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3088

AC39538 - Conroy v. Idlibi ("The defendant, Ammar A. Idlibi, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Katie N. Conroy. The defendant claims that the court erred (1) by finding that neither party bore greater responsibility for the breakdown of the marriage and (2) in making financial awards that were favorable to the plaintiff. We affirm the judgment of the court.")

AC40019 - Zilkha v. Zilkha ("In this protracted and bitterly contested dissolution action, the defendant, David Zilkha, appeals from the postjudgment order of the trial court increasing the fees payable to the guardian ad litem. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred by (1) refusing to permit evidence of misrepresentations by the guardian ad litem and (2) modifying the hourly rate of the guardian ad litem. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3087

AC39350 - Bank of America, N.A. v. Kydes ("The defendant, Andrew D. Kydes, appeals from the judgment of strict foreclosure rendered by the trial court in favor of the substitute plaintiff, Christiana Trust, a Division of Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB Not in Its Individual Capacity but as Trustee of ARLP Trust 5 (Christiana Trust). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred: (1) in relying upon a "procedural default" to find that the named plaintiff, Bank of America, N.A. (Bank of America), had standing to bring the instant action, and thus that the court had subject matter jurisdiction over the action; and (2) in failing to hold an evidentiary hearing on his claim that Bank of America lacked standing to bring this action. We disagree, and thus affirm the judgment of the trial court. ")


Legal Malpractice Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3089

AC39507 - Corneroli v. Kutz ("The plaintiff in this legal malpractice action, Louis D. Corneroli, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Ronald W. Kutz and Kutz & Prokop, LLP. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the basis of its conclusion that there was insufficient expert testimony on the issue of causation, and (2) considered certain documents filed by the defendants. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


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