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Property Law

Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5240

AC43857 - Atlantic St. Heritage Associates, LLC v. Atlantic Realty Co. ("The defendants, Atlantic Realty Company, 200 Atlantic, LLC, 210 Atlantic, LLC, 252 Atlantic Street, LLC, and Safavieh Atlantic, LLC, appeal from the judgment of the trial court granting a motion for summary judgment filed by the plaintiff, Atlantic St. Heritage Associates, LLC, and denying their cross motion for summary judgment vis-a-vis the plaintiff's second amended complaint claiming a prescriptive easement over certain property at issue. As to the summary judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff, the defendants claim that the court (1) lacked the authority to grant the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment because, in moving for summary judgment, the plaintiff failed to address their special defenses, and (2) improperly determined that no genuine issues of material fact exist as to the plaintiff's prescriptive easement claim. We agree in part with the defendants' first claim that the court lacked the authority to grant the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, such that we reverse the summary judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff and remand the case for further proceedings. Additionally, because it is sufficiently likely to arise on remand, we will address the defendants' second claim that the court incorrectly determined that there are no genuine issues of material fact regarding the plaintiff's prescriptive easement claim. As to the denial of their cross motion for summary judgment, the defendants claim that, as a matter of law, the plaintiff is precluded from asserting both deeded and prescriptive easement rights simultaneously. This claim is untenable. Accordingly, insofar as the defendants appeal from the denial of their cross motion for summary judgment, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5233

AC44902 - Speer v. U.S. Bank Trust, N.A. ("The self-represented plaintiff, Sheri Speer, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendant U.S. Bank Trust, N.A. (U.S. Bank). The plaintiff claims on appeal that the trial court (1) erred in granting U.S. Bank's motion to strike dated February 26, 2021, because the motion to strike (a) "did not comply with Practice Book § 10-41" and (b) was not directed to the operative complaint and (2) erred in granting U.S. Bank's motion for judgment dated September 21, 2021, because it was filed while an automatic appellate stay was in effect. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Land Use Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5227

AC43965 - Tracey v. Miami Beach Assn. ("This case involves an action to enforce a judgment that memorialized the rights of the general public to freely access and use a parcel of waterfront property in Old Lyme. Following a bench trial, the trial court concluded that the prior judgment in question precluded the defendant, Miami Beach Association, from restricting public access and use of that property. On appeal, the defendant challenges the propriety of that determination. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Environmental Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5218

AC44833 - 10 Marietta Street, LLC v. Melnick Properties, LLC ("The plaintiff, 10 Marietta Street, LLC, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Melnick Properties, LLC, Kenneth Maratea, Ellen Maratea, and Kathleen Bednarcik. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly determined that no genuine issue of material fact existed and the defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on all thirty counts of the plaintiff's operative complaint, which seeks to hold the defendants responsible for environmental contamination of the plaintiff's property.We agree with the plaintiff that genuine issues of material fact exist regarding whether one or more of the defendants are legally responsible for the alleged contamination of the plaintiff's land and its groundwaters. Accordingly, we 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=5207

AC44790 - Metropolitan District Commission v. Marriott International, Inc. (“The plaintiff claims on appeal that the trial court, in ruling on the defendant's postjudgment motion, improperly ordered the discharge of its sewer benefit assessment lien, which the plaintiff argues exceeded the court's jurisdiction and constituted an "unlawful end run around § [7-250] . . . ." The defendant disagrees, contending that the court either had continuing jurisdiction to invalidate the lien as a means of effectuating its summary judgment ruling in favor of the defendant or that it properly acted pursuant to the statutory authority granted it by § 49-51. Alternatively, the defendant argues that the plaintiff's claim is barred by res judicata and/or judicial estoppel. For the reasons that follow, we agree with the plaintiff that the court improperly ordered the sewer benefit assessment lien discharged and reject the defendant's arguments to the contrary. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the court and remand with direction to deny, in total, the defendant's postjudgment motion.”)


Property Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5204

SC20571 - Seramonte Associates, LLC v. Hamden ("The sole question in this certified appeal is whether General Statutes § 12-63c (a), which requires the owners of certain rental property to 'submit' income and expense information to their municipal tax assessor 'not later than the first day of June,' is satisfied when that information is postmarked but not delivered by that date. The plaintiff, Seramonte Associates, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which affirmed the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendant, the town of Hamden. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the Appellate Court erred in determining that the word "submit" in § 12-63c (a) unambiguously requires that an assessor receive income and expense forms by June 1. We agree with the Appellate Court's construction of the relevant statutory text and, accordingly, affirm its judgment.")

SC20665 - Dowling v. Heirs of Bond ("This appeal arises from a dispute over the ownership of a parcel of land that abuts property owned by the plaintiff, Jane C. Dowling, and to which the defendant The Old Black Point Association, Inc., holds record title. The plaintiff brought this quiet title action against the defendant, contending that her predecessors in title had acquired fee ownership of the disputed parcel by adverse possession. The defendant filed a counterclaim, alleging, among other things, that the plaintiff had slandered its title to the parcel under General Statutes § 47-33j by filing a notice of her claim of adverse possession on the land records. Following a bench trial, the trial court concluded that the plaintiff had failed to establish her claim of adverse possession and that the defendant had prevailed on its counterclaim and rendered judgment accordingly. After a subsequent hearing in damages, the trial court awarded $338,542.50 in attorney's fees and $44,876.33 in costs to the defendant. This appeal followed.

We conclude that the trial court correctly determined that the plaintiff had failed to establish ownership of the parcel by adverse possession but that it incorrectly determined that the defendant had established its counterclaim for slander of title. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment in favor of the defendant on the plaintiff's quiet title action and reverse the judgment in favor of the defendant on its counterclaim for slander of title.")



Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5187

AC44404 - Capital for Change, Inc. v. Board of Assessment Appeals ("The plaintiff, Capital for Change, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing its appeal from the decision of the defendant, the Board of Assessment Appeals of the Town of Wallingford (board), which upheld the denial of the plaintiff's application for a charitable organization real property tax exemption. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that the plaintiff's property is not exempt pursuant to General Statutes § 12-81 (7) because its mission to support affordable housing for low and moderate income persons is not a charitable purpose and, therefore, it is not organized exclusively, and its property is not used exclusively, for carrying out charitable purposes. We affirm the judgment of the trial court on the ground that, regardless of whether the plaintiff's mission to support affordable housing is a charitable purpose, the undisputed evidence demonstrates that the plaintiff's property is not used exclusively for such a purpose, as required to qualify for the exemption. . .

The judgment is affirmed.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5171

AC43811 - Schaghticoke Tribal Nation v. State ("This appeal arises out of a protracted dispute between the plaintiff, the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, and the defendants, the state of Connecticut and Robert Klee, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection. The plaintiff claims that it is owed compensation pursuant to the state's sale of land and associated mortgages in which it claims to have a property interest, and thus filed a complaint alleging an unconstitutional taking of its property without compensation and a breach of fiduciary duty by the defendants. The trial court rendered judgment dismissing the complaint, from which the plaintiff has appealed. On appeal, the plaintiff challenges the judgment of the trial court dismissing its complaint in its entirety. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC43811 Concurrence - Schaghticoke Tribal Nation v. State


Civil Procedure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5143

AC44152 - Williams v. Mansfield (The self-represented plaintiff, Stephen J. Williams, appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing as moot his appeal filed pursuant to General Statutes § 7-152b (g) and Practice Book § 23-51 (a) from an assessment imposed pursuant to § 7-152b (e) by the defendant, the town of Mansfield (town), with respect to a $30 parking ticket, and denying his motion for an order of mandamus to compel the taxation of costs (motion to compel). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider his appeal, which the court concluded was rendered moot after the town elected to void the underlying parking ticket, and (2) determined that he was not the prevailing party on appeal and, thus, not entitled to costs. We conclude that the plaintiff's appeal was not moot and, therefore, that the court improperly dismissed the appeal on the ground that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Rather, the court should have rendered judgment sustaining the appeal and ordered that the underlying assessment be vacated. We further conclude that the court improperly denied the plaintiff's motion to compel the taxation of costs solely on the ground that the plaintiff was not the prevailing party on appeal. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment and remand the case with direction to render judgment sustaining the appeal and ordering the town's hearing officer to vacate the assessment, and for further proceedings on the merits of the plaintiff's motion to compel the taxation of costs.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5131

AC44622 - Fairlake Capital, LLC v. Lathouris ("The defendant Number Six, LLC (Number Six), appeals from the order of the trial court denying its motion to discharge a notice of lis pendens (motion to discharge) recorded by the plaintiff, Fairlake Capital, LLC. Number Six also appeals from the order of the court denying its motion to lift a discretionary stay in the underlying proceedings to allow it to pursue the motion to discharge. Our disposition of this appeal hinges on two issues that concern the denial of the motion to discharge. First, as a threshold matter implicating our subject matter jurisdiction, we must determine whether the denial of the motion to discharge is a final judgment for appeal purposes. If we answer that question in the affirmative, the second issue is whether the court abused its discretion by denying the motion to discharge, without holding a hearing and adjudicating the merits of the motion in accordance with General Statutes §§ 52-325a and 52-325b, solely on the procedural ground that the discretionary stay was in place. Number Six claims that the denial of the motion to discharge is a final judgment and that the court improperly denied the motion to discharge on the basis of the discretionary stay. The plaintiff, on the other hand, maintains that (1) no final judgment exists, or, alternatively, (2) the court properly denied the motion to discharge on the basis of the discretionary stay. We conclude that (1) the denial of the motion to discharge is a final judgment for appeal purposes and (2) the court abused its discretion when it relied on the discretionary stay to deny Number Six's motion to discharge. We further conclude that our resolution of Number Six's claim concerning its motion to discharge necessarily resolves the question of whether the court should have lifted the discretionary stay to permit a hearing on that motion. . . .

The judgment is reversed as to the denial of Number Six's motion to discharge the notice of lis pendens and the case is remanded with direction to lift the discretionary stay for the purpose of holding a prompt hearing and adjudicating the merits of the motion to discharge in accordance with General Statutes §§ 52-325a and 52-325b and consistent with this opinion.")

  • AC44622 Concurrence - Fairlake Capital, LLC v. Lathouris


Property Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5096

SC20594 - Wind Colebrook South, LLC v. Colebrook ("Municipal property tax appeal; "The principal issue in this appeal is whether wind turbines used for the generation of electricity, and their associated equipment, are properly classified for purposes of taxation as real property pursuant to General Statutes § 12-64 (a) or, instead, as personal property pursuant to General Statutes § 12-41 (c). The plaintiff, Wind Colebrook South, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered primarily in favor of the defendant, the town of Colebrook, in this municipal property tax appeal brought pursuant to General Statutes §§ 12-117a and 12-119. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly upheld the defendant's (1) classification of its two wind turbines and their associated equipment as real property pursuant to § 12-64 (a), (2) overvaluation and overassessment of its property, and (3) double assessment of the plaintiff's declared personal property. Although we conclude that the wind turbines were properly classified as real property, we agree with the plaintiff's claim that their associated equipment should have been classified as personal, rather than real, property. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")

SC20594 Concurrence - Wind Colebrook South, LLC v. Colebrook


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5093

AC44707 - Davis v. Property Owners Association of Moodus Lake Shores, Inc. ("In this property dispute action, the plaintiffs, Kirk B. Davis and Elyssa J. Davis, appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Property Owners Association of Moodus Lake Shores, Inc. (association). On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly concluded that the doctrine of res judicata barred the present action. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5081

AC44380 - Reiner v. Reiner (Declaratory judgment; contract interpretation; interest; settlement agreement; "In this declaratory judgment action, the defendant Michael D. Reiner appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff Jeffrey A. Reiner. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in concluding that the term 'interest,' as used in the buyout provisions of the parties' settlement agreement (agreement), meant 'equitable interest' and, thus, that the buyout amount for the defendant's interests in certain parcels of real property is equal to his percentage interest in each property multiplied by the difference of the fair market value of the property minus any outstanding mortgage debt. We disagree and, accordingly, 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=5078

AC44377 - Kazemi v. Allen ("In this vexatious litigation action, the defendants, Lawrence Allen (Allen) and Green Tree Estate Association, Inc. (Green Tree), appeal from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the plaintiffs, Hossien Kazemi and Mahvash Mirzai. On appeal, the defendants claim that the trial court improperly (1) determined that the plaintiffs established that the defendants lacked probable cause to bring the claims for adverse possession and trespass in their counterclaim, (2) denied the defendants' motion for a directed judgement, (3) determined that the defendants failed to establish their advice of counsel defense, and (4) found that the defendants acted with malice. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5006

AC44218, AC44656 - D2E Holdings, LLC v. Corp. for Urban Home Ownership of New Haven (“These consolidated appeals arise from a dispute among the plaintiff, D2E Holdings, LLC (D2E Holdings), the defendant, third-party plaintiff, and third-party counterclaim defendant, Corporation for Urban Home Ownership of New Haven (CUHO), and the third-party defendant and third-party counterclaim plaintiff, Dragon Bridge Management, LLC (Dragon Bridge).In Docket No. AC 44218, D2E Holdings and Dragon Bridge appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in favor of CUHO. In Docket No. AC 44656, D2E Holdings appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying its motion to open the judgment in favor of CUHO. The parties advance three claims in their appeals. In AC 44218, D2E Holdings claims that the court improperly rendered judgment in favor of CUHO on D2E Holdings' breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim; in the same docket, Dragon Bridge claims that the court improperly rendered judgment in favor of CUHO on Dragon Bridge's breach of contract counterclaim. In AC 44656, D2E Holdings claims that the court incorrectly determined that it failed to make a threshold showing of fraud in order to warrant limited discovery and an evidentiary hearing on its motion to open. We affirm the judgments of the court.”)

AC43957 - Li v. Yaggi (“On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly concluded that they (1) failed to exercise due diligence in obtaining a written mortgage commitment, (2) did not provide adequate notice to the defendant that they were unable to obtain a mortgage commitment, and (3) waived any right they might have had to the deposits. We conclude that the court properly determined that the plaintiffs did not provide adequate notice to the defendant that they were unable to obtain a mortgage commitment pursuant to the terms of the agreement. Accordingly, 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=4968

AC44344 - Cavanagh v. Richichi ("In this partition action, the plaintiff and counterclaim defendant, Willis Cavanagh (plaintiff), appeals from the judgment of the trial court ordering an equitable distribution of the property located at 120 Water Street in Norwalk (property). The trial court found that the plaintiff's interest in the property was minimal and ordered him to quitclaim his undivided one-third stake in the property to the defendants and counterclaim plaintiffs Robert Bloom and John Gardella, in their capacity as cotrustees of the Norman R. Bloom Revocable Trust, and to New NRB #3 Corporation (New NRB) (collectively, defendants), for just compensation. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in calculating the just compensation owed to him by (1) finding that the defendants were entitled to a credit of one third of the amount that they paid for improvements to the property, and (2) failing to award him any compensation for the defendants' use and occupancy of the property. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Environmental Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4949

SC20545 - Crouzet v. First Baptist Church of Stonington (Appellate Review; Whether appellate court properly reversed trial court's judgment for defendants in action regarding contamination of neighboring plaintiff's property because (1) trial court committed clear error in finding that secondary source was responsible for contamination and (2) even if there was secondary source, its presence did not mean that plaintiff failed to prove that defendants caused contamination; "The plaintiff, David Crouzet, brought this action against the defendants, First Baptist Church of Stonington and Second Congregational Church of Stonington, alleging that fuel oil had leaked from an underground storage tank that previously had been located on the defendants' property onto the plaintiff's property, thereby contaminating it. The case was tried to the court, which concluded that a "secondary source" for the oil contamination existed on the plaintiff's property and, therefore, that the plaintiff had failed to prove its case. Accordingly, the trial court rendered judgment for the defendants. The plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Court, claiming that the trial court's finding that there was a secondary source for the oil contamination was clearly erroneous and that, even if that finding was supported by the evidence, that would not mean that the plaintiff failed to prove that the oil tank on the defendants' property was the primary source of the contamination. Crouzet v. First Baptist Church of Stonington, 199 Conn. App. 532, 553–54, 239 A.3d 321 (2020). The Appellate Court agreed with the plaintiff and reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded the case for a new trial. Id., 555, 559–60, 562. We then granted the plaintiff's petition for certification to appeal, limited to the following issue: "Did the Appellate Court, on the record in this case, properly reverse the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendants on the grounds that (1) the trial court committed clear error in finding that a secondary source was responsible for the contamination of the plaintiff's property, and (2) even if there had been a secondary source of contamination, the presence of that secondary source does not mean that the plaintiff failed to prove that the defendants' oil tank contaminated [the] property?" Crouzet v. First Baptist Church of Stonington, 335 Conn. 979, 241 A.3d 703 (2020). We conclude that certification was improvidently granted and, therefore, dismiss the appeal.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4940

AC44169 - Loch View, LLC v. Windham ("In this action that arose out of a municipal tax dispute, the plaintiff, Loch View, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying its motion to open, modify, and vacate the judgment dismissing the its action against the defendant, the town of Windham. Specifically, the plaintiff contends that the court either failed to exercise its discretion or abused its discretion in denying its motion to open. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4922

AC44296 - Digital 60 & 80 Merritt, LLC v. Board of Assessment Appeals ("In this joint real estate tax appeal, the defendants, the Board of Assessment Appeals of the Town of Trumbull (board) and the town of Trumbull (town), appeal from the judgments of the trial court sustaining the appeals brought by the plaintiff, Digital 60 & 80 Merritt, LLC, and ordering the reduction of the defendants' tax assessment levied against the plaintiff's property located at 60 Merritt Boulevard in Trumbull (property).On appeal, the defendants challenge the court's determination of the fair market value of the property, which they claim is based on certain clearly erroneous factual findings made by the court. Specifically, the defendants claim that the court erred in (1) failing to impute income to Suite 220 of the property, (2) valuing Suite 210 of the property at the suite's wholesale rate, (3) applying a capitalization rate of 8 percent, and (4) disregarding the plaintiff's internal valuations. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")