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Recent Opinions

Insurance Law Supreme Court Slip Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5321

SC20695 - Connecticut Dermatology Group, PC v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co. (“The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether a property insurance policy providing coverage for ‘direct physical loss of or physical damage to’ covered property provides coverage for business income losses arising from the suspension of business operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The plaintiffs, Connecticut Dermatology Group, PC (Connecticut Dermatology), Live Every Day, LLC (Live Every Day), and Ear Specialty Group of Connecticut, PC (Ear Specialty Group), own and operate healthcare facilities at various locations in Connecticut. They suspended their business operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result, lost business income and incurred other expenses. The plaintiffs filed claims for their losses with the defendants, Twin City Fire Insurance Company, Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd., Hartford Fire Insurance Company, doing business as The Hartford, and the Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., under insurance policies containing provisions requiring the insurance companies to ‘pay for direct physical loss of or physical damage to’ covered property caused by a covered cause of loss. The defendants denied the claims, and the plaintiffs brought this action seeking, among other things, a judgment declaring that the insurance policies covered their economic losses. The plaintiffs now appeal from the trial court’s granting of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the ground that the claimed losses were subject to a virus exclusion in the policies. We affirm the trial court’s judgment on the alternative ground that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether the policies did not cover the plaintiffs’ claims because the plaintiffs did not suffer any direct physical loss of covered property.”)

SC20678 - Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Moda, LLC (“ The plaintiffs filed claims for their losses with the defendants, Twin City Fire Insurance Company, Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd., Hartford Fire Insurance Company, doing business as The Hartford, and the Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., under insurance policies containing provisions requiring the insurance companies to ‘pay for direct physical loss of or physical damage to’ covered property caused by a covered cause of loss. The defendants denied the claims, and the plaintiffs brought this action seeking, among other things, a judgment declaring that the insurance policies covered their economic losses. The plaintiffs now appeal1from the trial court’s granting of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the ground that the claimed losses were subject to a virus exclusion in the policies. We affirm the trial court’s judgment on the alternative ground that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether the policies did not cover the plaintiffs’ claims because the plaintiffs did not suffer any direct physical loss of covered property.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5320

AC44701 - State v. Hurdle (Alford doctrine; robbery in the first degree; conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree; “The defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) determined that it lacked the authority, in accordance with General Statutes § 18-98d, to award him presentence confinement credit, (2) accepted his guilty pleas and denied his subsequent motion for jail credit or to withdraw his pleas, despite his contention that there was never a ‘meeting of the minds’ regarding the terms of his plea agreement with the state, and (3) violated his constitutional rights by failing to advise him during his plea canvass that his guilty pleas would operate as a waiver of his right to a trial by jury. We affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5319

AC45094 - Booth v. Park Terrace II Mutual Housing Ltd. Partnership (Premises liability; negligence; summary judgment; request for admission pursuant to rule of practice (§ 13-22); "The plaintiff, Joseph M. Booth, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting motions for summary judgment filed by the defendants, Park Terrace II Mutual Housing Limited Partnership and Mutual Housing Association of Greater Hartford, Inc. (collectively, owner defendants), and Crosskey Architects, LLC, and TO Design, LLC (collectively, design defendants), and denying the plaintiff's request to amend his complaint and his motion to preclude expert testimony. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court (1) improperly rendered summary judgment because genuine issues of material fact exist, (2) abused its discretion in denying his request to amend his complaint, and (3) abused its discretion in denying his motion to preclude the expert affidavit offered in support of the owner defendants' motion for summary judgment. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC44587 - Aviles v. Barnhill (Premises liability; negligence; motion for summary judgment; "The plaintiffs, Dominique Aviles, individually and on behalf of her minor child, Xavier Bauza, appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant landlord, H-Squared Construction, LLC, on two counts of the plaintiffs' complaint asserting negligence against the defendant arising from an off premises attack by a dog owned by one of its tenants. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the court incorrectly determined that the defendant could not be held liable as a matter of law because, contrary to the court's conclusion, Connecticut case law provides that a landlord has a duty of care under a premises liability theory to use reasonable care to prevent injuries to third parties from known vicious dogs housed on the property by a tenant, including, in certain circumstances, from a dog attack occurring off of the landlord's property. The plaintiffs also argue that this court should adopt § 379A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts (§ 379A), which, if its elements are met, would extend liability to the defendant regardless of where the attack took place. We disagree with the plaintiffs' first claim and conclude that, within the specific context of off premises dog attacks, landlords do not owe a duty of care to injured third parties under a theory of premises liability. We also decline to adopt § 379A for this particular context because we determine that doing so would be contrary to our appellate precedent. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Connecticut Law Journal - January 24, 2023

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5315

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXIV, No. 29, for January 24, 2023 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents:
  • Volume 345: Connecticut Reports (Pages 683 - 831)
  • Volume 345: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 217: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 330 - 397)
  • Volume 217: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 901 - 901)
  • Volume 217: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies



Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5313

AC45019 - State v. Griffin (Assault of an elderly person in the second degree; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress a firearm and narcotics that were seized by the police following a warrantless search of a motor vehicle that was connected to the defendant and located near the scene of the defendant’s arrest. We conclude that, under the circumstances of this case, the court properly relied on the automobile exception in determining that the police were not obligated to obtain a warrant before searching the vehicle. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the court.”)

AC44690 - State v. Charles L. (Risk of injury to a child; “On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the evidence was insufficient for the jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that his actions constituted an act likely to impair the health of a child and (2) ‘‘§ 53-21 (a) (1) is unconstitutionally vague as applied to the facts of this case . . . .’’ We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5311

AC45192 - Myshkina v. Gusinski (Breach of contract; motion for default for failure to appear; motion for judgment on default; "The defendant, Vladimir Gusinski, appeals from the default judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Galina Myshkina. The defendant claims that the court, in rendering the judgment, improperly relied on the affidavit of debt of the plaintiff's counsel in contravention of Practice Book § 17-25 (b) (1). We agree and reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5310

SC20633 - Devine v. Fusaro ("On July 24, 2012, the decedent, Timothy Devine, fatally shot himself with a handgun after state police officers fired nonlethal ammunition at him in an unsuccessful effort to cause him to drop or to surrender his weapon. The plaintiff, Michael Devine, as administrator of the decedent’s estate, filed a wrongful death action against four state police officers—the defendants, Louis Fusaro, Jr., Steven Rief, Michael Avery, and Kevin Cook—alleging that their intentional, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct caused the death of the decedent. The defendants moved to dismiss the action, claiming that it was barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity or, alternatively, the statutory grant of immunity set forth in General Statutes § 4-165. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss, concluding that the plaintiff’s action was barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity pursuant to the four factor test set forth in Spring v. Constantino, 168 Conn. 563, 568, 362 A.2d 871 (1975). See id. (articulating ‘‘the following criteria for determining whether [a] suit is, in effect, one against the state and cannot be maintained without its consent: (1) a state official has been sued; (2) the suit concerns some matter in which that official represents the state; (3) the state is the real party against whom relief is sought; and (4) the judgment, though nominally against the official, will operate to control the activities of the state or subject it to liability’’ (internal quotation marks omitted)).

The Appellate Court reversed the judgment of the trial court, reasoning that the Spring test does not apply because the operative complaint unequivocally stated that ‘‘[t]he defendants are sued in their individual capacit[ies].’’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Devine v. Fusaro, 205 Conn. App. 554, 576, 259 A.3d 655 (2021); see id., 585. Alternatively, the Appellate Court determined that the trial court misapplied the third factor of the Spring test because it ‘‘was required to give far greater weight to the fact that the plaintiff specifically pleaded that he brought the action against the defendants in their individual capacities.’’ Id., 582–83. Accordingly, the Appellate Court reversed the trial court’s judgment and remanded the case with direction to ‘‘consider the remaining ground raised in the motion [to dismiss], namely, whether the plaintiff’s complaint sufficiently alleges reckless, wanton, or malicious conduct such that, if proven, the defendants would not be entitled to statutory immunity under § 4-165.’’ Id., 585. We granted the defendants’ petition for certification to appeal, limited to the following issue: ‘‘Did the Appellate Court correctly conclude that, when a court determines whether sovereign immunity bars a claim against state officials or employees for actions taken in the exercise of their duties, the [Spring] test . . . ‘has no applicability’ when a plaintiff designates that the state officials or employees have been sued in their individual capacities?’’ Devine v. Fusaro, 339 Conn. 904, 260 A.3d 1224 (2021).

After examining the entire record on appeal and considering the briefs and oral arguments of the parties, we have determined that that the appeal should be dismissed on the ground that certification was improvidently granted.

The appeal is dismissed.")


Connecticut Law Journal - January 17, 2023

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5308

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXIV, No. 28, for January 17, 2023 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 199 Conn. App. Replacement Pages 189 - 190
  • Volume 217 Conn. App. Replacement Pages 55 - 56
  • Volume 345: Connecticut Reports (Pages 599 - 683)
  • Volume 345: Orders (Pages 970 - 973)
  • Volume 345: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 217: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 224 - 329)
  • Volume 217: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5307

SC20627 - CT Freedom Alliance, LLC v. Dept. of Education (In June, 2020, the defendants, the state Department of Education (department), then state Commissioner of Education Miguel A. Cardona, and Governor Ned Lamont, undertook to mandate that our state's schoolchildren wear masks while in school. It is the defendants' authority to implement that mandate, and to continue it for nearly two years, that forms the basis of the plaintiffs' present action, and it is the relatively recent repeal of that mandate that demands that we determine whether we still have jurisdiction over this appeal. We conclude that this case is moot and therefore dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.)


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5306

AC45357 - In re A'vion A. (The respondent mother appeals from the judgments of the trial court rendered in favor of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, terminating her parental rights as to A'vion, Aaliyah, and Azra, her minor children. On appeal, the respondent claims that the court improperly (1) denied her October 2, 2019 motion to compel the Department of Children and Families (department) to provide additional reunification services, (2) concluded that she failed to achieve the requisite degree of personal rehabilitation required by General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (B) with respect to Azra, and (3) determined that the department made reasonable efforts to reunify her with the minor children pursuant to § 17a-112 (j) (1).We conclude that the appeal is moot as to the final claim and dismiss that portion of the appeal. We otherwise affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5305

AC44274 - Schimenti Construction Co., LLC v. Schimenti (“The plaintiff, Schimenti Construction Company, LLC, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Joseph Schimenti, on counts one and two of its complaint alleging breach of an employment contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in determining that continued employment of an at-will employee does not constitute consideration for a restrictive covenant. We agree with plaintiff’s claim and, therefore, reverse the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendant and remand the case for further proceedings.”)


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5303

AC45062 - Ross v. Commissioner of Correction (“On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court improperly (1) rejected his actual innocence claim, (2) concluded that he failed to establish that standby counsel provided ineffective assistance, and (3) dismissed count two of the habeas petition. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the habeas court.”)


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5302

AC44489 - Renstrup v. Renstrup (Dissolution of marriage; whether trial court abused its discretion in calculating child support obligation by failing to allocate properly total amount of child support between parties as required by Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines set forth in state regulations (§ 46b-215a-1 et seq.); "The defendant, Jens Renstrup, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Hedyeh Renstrup, and entering certain financial orders. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) calculated its basic child support award, (2) issued an open-ended, uncapped percentage based supplemental child support award, (3) issued an open-ended, uncapped supplemental alimony award, (4) based both of its supplemental awards on a clearly erroneous finding that the defendant's bonus income had a "cap" of 30 percent of his base salary, and (5) included certain unvested shares and stock options in its distribution of marital property. We conclude that the court erred in its child support and alimony orders and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the trial court and remand the matter for a new trial on all financial orders.")


Connecticut Law Journal - January 10, 2023

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5299

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXIV, No. 27, for January 10, 2023 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 345: Connecticut Reports (Pages 421 - 599)
  • Volume 345: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 217: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 191 - 223)
  • Volume 217: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5298

AC44600 - King v. Hubbard ("The defendant, Matthew Hubbard, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to restore to the active docket a civil action that was brought against him by the plaintiffs, Laura King and Richard King, and later voluntarily withdrawn. The defendant claims that (1) the court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to restore the action to the active docket and (2) this court should fashion a procedural mechanism to guide trial courts when a plaintiff withdraws an action in response to a special motion to dismiss pursuant to General Statutes § 52-196a, which affords protection against so-called SLAPP lawsuits. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5297

AC45097 - State v. Henry (“On appeal, the defendant argues that the court improperly denied his motion to correct because his sentence imposing a period of special parole violated General Statutes (Rev. to 2017) § 54-125e (b) (1), as amended by No. 18-63 of the 2018 Public Acts (P.A. 18-63). In response, the state argues that the court properly denied the defendant’s motion to correct because that statutory provision does not apply retroactively to the defendant’s crimes. We agree with the state and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Tort Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5293

SC20597 - Solon v. Slater ("This appeal requires us to decide the scope of the preclusive effect, in a subsequent tort action in the Superior Court, of an unappealed Probate Court decree admitting a will to probate. The plaintiff, Linda Yoffe Solon, filed the present lawsuit against the defendants, Joseph M. Slater and Joshua Solon, alleging that they tortiously interfered with her contractual relations and right of inheritance by exercising undue influence over her husband, Michael Solon (decedent), with respect to two different legal instruments, a proposed amendment to an antenuptial agreement and a testamentary will. The trial court rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants, concluding in pertinent part that both of the plaintiff’s tortious interference claims were barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel because the Probate Court previously had admitted the decedent’s will to probate after rejecting the plaintiff’s claim that the decedent executed the will as a result of the defendants’ undue influence. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. See Solon v. Slater, 204 Conn. App. 647, 665, 253 A.3d 503 (2021).

The issue before us is whether both of the plaintiff’s tortious interference claims in her civil tort action are barred by either the doctrine of collateral estoppel, as the courts below concluded, or the doctrine of res judicata, which the defendants have raised as an alternative ground for affirmance. We conclude that neither preclusion doctrine bars the plaintiff from litigating her tortious interference with contractual relations claim, which relates to the proposed amended antenuptial agreement, because the Probate Court did not actually or necessarily determine whether the defendants tortiously interfered with that contract and the plaintiff lacked an opportunity to litigate her claim in the Probate Court. We arrive at a different conclusion with respect to the plaintiff’s tortious interference with her right of inheritance claim because the Probate Court actually and necessarily determined that the defendants had not tortiously interfered with the execution, alteration, or revocation of the will admitted to probate, and the plaintiff therefore is collaterally estopped from relitigating that claim. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court in part and remand the case for further proceedings on the plaintiff’s tortious interference with contractual relations claim.")



Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5290

SC20371 - State v. Brandon (“The defendant appeals from the judgment of conviction, following a jury trial, of manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-55a (a). The defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress the statements he made during two separately recorded interrogations of him by police officers. As to the first interrogation, which occurred on February 16, 2016, sometime between 11 a.m. and noon, at the Bridgeport Office of Adult Probation, the defendant contends that, because the police failed to advise him of his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 478–79, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966), the interrogation violated his rights under the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution. As to the second interrogation, which occurred later on the same day, at approximately 6 p.m., at the Bridgeport Police Department, the defendant claims that, notwithstanding the fact that the officers had issued Miranda warnings at the outset of that interrogation, it was tainted by the alleged illegality of the first interrogation. We disagree. After review, we have determined that the first interrogation was not custodial, and, therefore, that Miranda warnings were not required. Consequently, the failure to provide them did not violate the defendant’s rights and did not taint the second interrogation. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress the statements he made during the two interrogations and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5289

AC45238 - Murphy v. Clinton (Municipal defective highway statute (§ 13a-149); subject matter jurisdiction; "The plaintiff, Catherine Murphy, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion to dismiss filed by the defendant, the town of Clinton, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction over the plaintiff's complaint on the basis that she failed to comply with the requirements of the notice provision of the municipal defective highway statute, General Statutes § 13a-149. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the written notice and the accompanying photographs that she sent to the defendant sufficiently described the cause of her injury in compliance with the requirements of § 13a-149. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court")