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Tort Law

Tort Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3669

SC19946 - Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency v. Jackson ("To prevail in a negligence action, a plaintiff ordinarily must establish all of the elements of that cause of action, namely, duty, breach, causation, and damages. See, e.g., Snell v. Norwalk Yellow Cab, Inc., 332 Conn. 720, 742, ___ A.3d ___ (2019). In this appeal, which presents an issue of first impression for this court, we must decide whether to adopt the alternative liability doctrine, which was first articulated in Summers v. Tice, 33 Cal. 2d 80, 85–87, 199 P.2d 1 (1948), and later endorsed by the Restatement (Second) of Torts. That rule provides that, when "the conduct of two or more actors is tortious, and it is proved that harm has been caused to the plaintiff by only one of them, but there is uncertainty as to which one has caused it, the burden is upon each such actor to prove that he has not caused the harm." 2 Restatement (Second), Torts § 433 B (3), pp. 441–42 (1965). We are persuaded that the doctrine is a sound one and therefore adopt it.

The plaintiff, Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency, as subrogee of its insured, the town of Somers (town), brought this action against the defendants, Christopher Jackson, Wesley Hall, and Erin Houle, claiming that their negligent disposal of cigarettes inside an abandoned, privately owned mill in the town ignited a fire that destroyed both the mill and a public, aboveground sewage line in the basement of the mill. The trial court granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff could not establish which of the defendants' cigarettes had sparked the blaze and, therefore, could not establish causation, an essential element of its cause of action. In doing so, the trial court declined the plaintiff's request that it adopt the alternative liability doctrine as set forth in § 433 B (3) of the Restatement (Second), concluding, inter alia, that whether to do so was a decision only this court, the Appellate Court or the legislature properly should make. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


AC42044 - Reale v. Rhode Island ("In this spoliation of evidence action, the plaintiff Daniel Reale appeals from the judgment of dismissal rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant town of Coventry, Rhode Island (town), and the state defendants, the state of Rhode Island; the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families; Investigator Harry Lonergan; and Attorneys Brenda Baum and Diane Leyden, on the ground of a lack of personal jurisdiction. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in (1) determining that the state defendants did not waive their right to seek dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction by concurrently moving to strike the plaintiff's complaint as an alternative to dismissal, and (2) granting the state defendants' motions to dismiss on the ground of a lack of personal jurisdiction. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3658

AC40985 - Blinn v. Sindwani ("In this personal injury action arising out of an automobile accident, the plaintiff, David Blinn, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered following a jury verdict against the defendant, Desh Sindwani. The plaintiff claims that the court erred by sustaining the defendant's objection to his motions in limine that sought to preclude evidence of the plaintiff's (1) prior misconduct and (2) citation arising from a motor vehicle accident that occurred on June 6, 2014, which resulted in a violation of the plaintiff's probation stemming from a 2013 conviction for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs in violation of General Statutes § 14-227a. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40574 - Iino v. Spalter ("The defendant, Dianne Rogers Spalter, executrix of the estate of Harold Spalter, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the plaintiff, Elizabeth Spalter Iino, the biological daughter of Harold Spalter, the decedent (decedent).On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) denied her motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, (2) admitted certain evidence, (3) permitted the jury to find her liable for punitive damages without evidence as to the plaintiff's litigation expenses and reserved to itself the issue of the amount of punitive damages to be awarded, and (4) denied her motion to set aside the verdict, which alleged that there was insufficient evidence that the plaintiff suffers from psychological trauma caused by childhood sexual abuse. We agree with the defendant's third claim. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41049 - Vodovskaia-Scandura v. Hartford Headache Center, LLC ("The plaintiff, Nailia Vodovskaia-Scandura, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, the Hartford Headache Center, LLC, and Tanya Bilchik, M.D. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to (1) the extreme and outrageous conduct element of her intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, and (2) the duty and causation elements of her negligence claim. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3665

AC39898 - Pasco Common Condominium Assn., Inc. v. Benson ("The defendants, Benson Enterprises, Inc. (declarant), and Paul D. Benson, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a bench trial, in favor of the plaintiffs, Pasco Common Condominium Association, Inc. (association), and eighteen individual members of the association. On appeal, the defendants claim that (1) the court incorrectly concluded that the statute of limitations governing the plaintiffs' claims was tolled until the commencement of the present action because the period of declarant control had not terminated, (2) the plaintiffs' action was time barred pursuant to General Statutes § 52-577, the three year statute of limitations applicable to tort actions, (3) the court improperly awarded the association damages on the plaintiffs' claim that the defendants improperly assessed common charges, and (4) the court improperly determined that Benson individually was liable. We agree with the defendants' first, third, and fourth claims, but we disagree in part with the defendants' second claim. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3653

SC19968 - Riley v. Travelers Home & Marine Ins. Co. ("This appeal concerns a question of civil procedure arising when a jury returns a verdict in favor of the plaintiff that the defendant claims was not supported by sufficient evidence presented during the plaintiff's case-in-chief. Under what has come to be known as the waiver rule, 'when a trial court denies a defendant's motion for a directed verdict at the close of the plaintiff's case, the defendant, by opting to introduce evidence in his or her own behalf, waives the right to appeal the trial court's ruling.' Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Board of Tax Review, 241 Conn. 749, 756–57, 699 A.2d 81 (1997). The defendant, The Traveler's Home and Marine Insurance Company, contends that the waiver rule is inapplicable to civil cases in which a trial court reserves decision on a motion for a directed verdict pursuant to Practice Book § 16-37. We disagree and conclude that the waiver rule is applicable regardless of whether a motion for a directed verdict has been reserved for decision or denied. Thus, a court reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support a jury's verdict must consider all of the evidence considered by the jury returning the verdict, not just the evidence presented in the plaintiff's case-in-chief.

The plaintiff, C. Andrew Riley, commenced this action against the defendant for breach of contract and negligent infliction of emotional distress stemming from the defendant's handling of the plaintiff's homeowner's insurance claim. At the close of the plaintiff's case-in-chief, the defendant moved for a directed verdict on the plaintiff's negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, and the trial court reserved decision on that motion. The defendant then presented evidence in its defense, some of which supported the plaintiff's contention that the defendant had been negligent in its investigation of his homeowner's insurance claim. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff on both counts. The defendant timely moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, renewing its motion for a directed verdict and requesting the court to set aside the verdict on the claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress and render judgment for the defendant. The trial court, relying primarily on evidence that emerged during the defendant's case, determined that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict and denied the defendant's motion. The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's judgment; Riley v. Travelers Home & Marine Ins. Co., 173 Conn. App. 422, 462, 163 A.3d 1246 (2017); and we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3647

SC19971 - Sena v. American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc. ("This appeal requires us to consider the nature and scope of the immunity provided to the state and its political subdivisions by General Statutes § 28-13 (a) for actions taken in connection with a civil preparedness emergency declared by the governor pursuant to General Statutes § 28-9, which, in the present case, related to a blizzard that occurred in February, 2013. The defendant city of Bridgeport (city) appeals from the trial court's denial of its motion for summary judgment in the present case, which was commenced by the plaintiff, Marinelis Sena, both individually and as administratrix of the estate of Tyrone O. Tillman. The operative complaint alleges, inter alia, that the city was negligent in (1) not following its usual practice of sending a fire truck with an emergency medical technician in addition to an ambulance to render medical care to Tillman when he experienced severe breathing difficulty on February 11, 2013, and (2) preventing the ambulance from arriving promptly by allowing snow to remain on certain public roadways. On appeal, the city claims, inter alia, that it was immune for its actions pursuant to § 28-13, and that the trial court improperly determined that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the civil preparedness emergency remained in effect on the date of Tillman's death. We conclude that (1) an appealable final judgment exists because the city's claims of immunity pursuant to § 28-13 implicate an extension of the state's sovereign immunity to the city, and (2) the trial court should have granted the city's motion for summary judgment because there was no genuine issue of material fact with respect to the applicability of § 28-13. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3642

SC20227 - Metcalf v. Fitzgerald ("In this appeal, we are asked to determine whether the United States Bankruptcy Code provisions permitting bankruptcy courts to assess penalties and sanctions preempt state law claims for vexatious litigation and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq. The plaintiff, Jonathan S. Metcalf, brought state law claims against the defendants, Michael Fitzgerald, Ion Bank (bank), Myles H. Alderman, Jr., and Alderman & Alderman, LLC (law firm), for alleged vexatious litigation and for unfair and deceptive business acts or practices during the plaintiff's underlying bankruptcy proceeding. The plaintiff appeals from the trial court's granting of the motion to dismiss filed by Alderman and the law firm, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the ground that federal bankruptcy law preempts the claims. The trial court determined that the outcome of the motion was controlled by the Appellate Court's decision in Lewis v. Chelsea G.C.A. Realty Partnership, L.P., 86 Conn. App. 596, 862 A.2d 368 (2004), cert. denied, 273 Conn. 909, 870 A.2d 1079 (2005). The court in Lewis held that the Bankruptcy Code preempted CUTPA and vexatious litigation claims for alleged abuse of the bankruptcy process. Id., 605–607. The plaintiff contends that the court in Lewis did not properly evaluate each of the three types of preemption by which Congress manifests its intent to preempt state law and failed to consider the relevant Bankruptcy Code provisions. See 11 U.S.C. § 105 (2012); Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3636

AC41721 - Kusy v. Norwich ("This is a personal injury action brought by the plaintiff, Andrzej Kusy, against the defendants, the city of Norwich, its board of education, and certain municipal employees, seeking to recover damages for injuries he sustained after he slipped and fell on snow or ice while delivering milk for his employer, Guida's Dairy (Guida's), at a Norwich school. The plaintiff appeals from the trial court's summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendants on the ground that they are entitled to governmental immunity.

On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the ground of governmental immunity because he adequately raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether (1) the removal of snow and ice at a school is a ministerial rather than a discretionary act, and (2) the plaintiff was an identifiable victim because he had a contractual duty to deliver milk to the school. We disagree with both claims and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40963 - Sen v. Tsiongas ("In this premises liability action, the plaintiff, Isha Sen, appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendant, Kostas Tsiongas. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in rendering summary judgment in favor of the defendant, who was the landlord of the apartment building in which the plaintiff lived, because there was a disputed issue of material fact as to whether the defendant should have known that the dog of one of the other tenants had vicious propensities. We agree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")




Medical Malpractice Supreme Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3632

SC19977 - Traylor v. State ("This appeal arises from the most recent in a series of civil actions that the plaintiff, Sylvester Traylor, has brought in state and federal court relating to the suicide of his wife, Roberta Mae Traylor (Roberta). The plaintiff, who is self-represented, brought the present case against the defendants, who are (1) the state of Connecticut, numerous current and former Superior Court judges, and the Appellate Court (state defendants); (2) Roberta's treating psychiatrist, Bassam Awwa, and his employer, Connecticut Behavioral Health Associates, P.C. (Awwa defendants); and (3) Robert Knowles and Neil Knowles, and their business, Advanced Telemessaging (Knowles defendants). The plaintiff now appeals from the judgment of the trial court, Moll, J., rendered in accordance with its granting of the defendants' motions to dismiss and for summary judgment. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that General Statutes § 52-190a, which requires a plaintiff to append a good faith certificate and supporting opinion letter to the complaint in cases of medical negligence, is unconstitutional. Although the plaintiff fully briefed his attack on the constitutionality of § 52-190a, we cannot reach the merits of that claim because of his failure to challenge the trial court's threshold conclusions that his claims against all of the defendants are barred by, inter alia, the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")



Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3625

AC41115 - Welsh v. Martinez ("The defendant, William V. Martinez, Jr., appeals from the judgment of the trial court holding him in contempt for violating the terms of an asset standstill order. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) found him in contempt because that order lacked sufficient clarity and was ambiguous, (2) failed to consider the defendant's ability to pay in imposing a compensatory fine, and (3) abused its discretion in imposing that fine. We affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3611

SC19929 - Snell v. Norwalk Yellow Cab, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Brenda Snell, brought this negligence action against the defendants, Johnley Sainval, a taxicab driver, his employer, Norwalk Yellow Cab, Inc. (Yellow Cab), and Vito Bochicchio, Jr., the sole shareholder of Yellow Cab, seeking damages for serious injuries she sustained when she was struck by a taxicab that had been stolen from Sainval by two teenagers after Sainval left the vehicle unattended with the key in the ignition in a Norwalk neighborhood known to have a higher than average crime rate. A jury trial ensued at which the defendants claimed, inter alia, that the conduct of the two thieves was a superseding cause that relieved Sainval of any liability to the plaintiff for his alleged negligence. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury, in response to interrogatories submitted to it by the trial court, found that Sainval was negligent in leaving the taxicab unattended with the key in the ignition; that, in light of the surrounding neighborhood, it was reasonably foreseeable that the vehicle would be stolen and operated in an unsafe manner; and that Sainval's negligence was a proximate cause of some or all of the plaintiff's injuries. The jury also found, nevertheless, that the defendants were not liable for the plaintiff's injuries because the accident that occurred was not within the scope of the risk created by Sainval's negligence.

The plaintiff thereafter filed a motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial claiming, inter alia, that the jury's finding that Sainval's negligence constituted a proximate cause of the accident was legally inconsistent with its finding that the accident was outside the scope of the risk created by Sainval's negligence. The court denied the motion and rendered judgment in accordance with the jury's verdict. The plaintiff then appealed to the Appellate Court, claiming that (1) it was improper for the trial court to instruct the jury on the doctrine of superseding cause, (2) even if the doctrine were properly submitted to the jury, the court's instructions and interrogatories misled the jury, and (3) the trial court improperly denied the plaintiff's motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial on the ground that the jury's verdict was irreconcilable with its responses to the interrogatories. Snell v. Norwalk Yellow Cab, Inc., 172 Conn. App. 38, 41, 158 A.3d 787 (2017). The Appellate Court rejected the plaintiff's claims; id., 41–42; and we granted the plaintiff's petition for certification to appeal, limited to the following issues: (1) "Did the Appellate Court correctly determine that the judgment of the trial court should be affirmed on the basis that the doctrine of superseding cause applies in cases in which the conduct of a third party is criminally reckless?"Snell v. Norwalk Yellow Cab, Inc., 325 Conn. 927, 927–28, 169 A.3d 232 (2017). And (2) "Did the Appellate Court correctly determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the plaintiff's motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial?" Id., 928.Although we answer the first question in the affirmative, we answer the second in the negative and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3606

AC40702 - Dudley v. Commissioner of Transportation ("In this action, brought, in part, pursuant to the state defective highway statute, General Statutes § 13a-144, the defendant, James P. Redeker, the Commissioner of Transportation (state), appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying the state's motion to dismiss the claims asserted against it on sovereign immunity grounds. The state claims that the court improperly denied the motion to dismiss because (1) the notice of claim (notice) provided by the plaintiff, Angela Dudley, pursuant to § 13a-144, was patently defective in its description of the location of the alleged defect, and (2) the state did not have a duty to maintain and repair the area in question. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3569

SC19879 - Doe v. Cochran ("The principal issue in this appeal is whether a physician who mistakenly informs a patient that he does not have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) may be held liable in ordinary negligence to the patient's exclusive sexual partner for her resulting injuries when the physician knows that the patient sought testing and treatment for the express benefit of that partner. Under the circumstances alleged, we conclude that the defendant, Charles Cochran, a physician, owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, identified by the pseudonym Jane Doe, even though she was not his patient. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court improperly granted the defendant's motion to strike the plaintiff's one count complaint and reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41697 - Lewis v. Newtown ("This case arises from the horrific and tragic events that occurred on December 14, 2012, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School (school) in Newtown. On that day, at approximately 9:35 a.m., Adam Lanza, bearing an arsenal of weaponry, shot his way into the locked school building with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S semiautomatic rifle and, with gruesome resolve, fatally shot twenty first grade children and six staff members, and wounded two other staff members before taking his own life.The plaintiffs, Scarlett Lewis, administratrix of the estate of Jesse Lewis, and Leonard Pozner, administrator of the estate of Noah Pozner, appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, the town of Newtown and the Board of Education of the Town of Newtown, on the ground of governmental immunity. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court erred in rendering summary judgment by concluding that (1) the plaintiffs' third revised complaint did not contain allegations of negligence directed at the acts and omissions of the school faculty and staff during the shooting on December 14, 2012, but, rather, contained only allegations of negligence directed at the defendants before December 14, 2012; (2) the defendants' creation and implementation of school security guidelines were discretionary acts in nature; and (3) the identifiable person-imminent harm exception did not apply to the defendants' claim of immunity. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")




Tort Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3560

SC19983 - Murphy v. Darien ("The sole issue in this appeal is whether the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 (railroad act), 49 U.S.C. § 20101 et seq., preempts the negligence claims brought by the plaintiff, Jamey Murphy, individually and as executrix of the estate of her late husband, Kevin Murphy (decedent), against the defendant Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company. We conclude that the railroad act does not preempt the plaintiff's negligence claims and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendant on that ground.")

AC40951- Marvin v. Board of Education ("The plaintiff, Megan Marvin, through her mother and next friend, Carole Marvin, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, the Board of Education of the Town of Colchester, on the basis of governmental immunity. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly rendered summary judgment because there remains a genuine issue of material fact with respect to (1) whether the defendant's inspection and maintenance of a locker room floor constitutes a ministerial duty for the purpose of governmental immunity, and (2) whether the plaintiff was an identifiable person subject to imminent harm, thus invoking the identifiable person, imminent harm exception to governmental immunity. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3551

SC20023 - Northrup v. Witkowski ("This certified appeal requires us to consider the continued vitality of this court's decision in Spitzer v. Waterbury, 113 Conn. 84, 88, 154 A. 157 (1931), which held that "[t]he work of constructing drains and sewers, as well as that of keeping them in repair, is ministerial, and the municipality is responsible for negligence in its performance." The plaintiffs, Helen M. Northrup, George W. Northrup, and Timothy Northrup, brought this action against the defendants, the borough of Naugatuck (town) and several town officials, claiming, inter alia, that the defendants' negligence in maintaining and repairing the town's storm drains and drainage pipes had caused the repeated flooding of the plaintiffs' residence. The plaintiffs now appeal, upon our granting of their petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's granting of the defendant's motion for summary judgment on the ground that the negligence claims were barred because, under more recent cases refining and clarifying Spitzer, the maintenance of storm drains and drainage systems is a discretionary function subject to governmental immunity, rather than a ministerial function, the negligent performance of which can subject a municipality to liability. Northrup v. Witkowski, 175 Conn. App. 223, 250, 167 A.3d 443 (2017). We disagree with the plaintiffs' claim that the Appellate Court improperly failed to follow Spitzer because we conclude that decision must be overruled in light of modern case law governing the distinction between ministerial and discretionary duties. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Tort Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3542

SC20135 - Fiano v. Old Saybrook Fire Co. No. 1, Inc. ("The issue that we must resolve in this certified appeal is whether the trial court properly determined that there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendant James M. Smith, a junior volunteer firefighter with the named defendant, the Old Saybrook Fire Company No. 1, Inc. (fire company), was acting within the scope of his employment with the fire company at the time that the motor vehicle that he was driving collided with a motorcycle being driven by the plaintiff, Michael A. Fiano. The plaintiff brought this action alleging that he had been injured as the result of Smith's negligent operation of his motor vehicle and that the fire company and the defendant town of Old Saybrook (town) were vicariously liable for Smith's negligence pursuant to General Statutes §§ 7-308[1] and 7-465. The fire company and the town (collectively, municipal defendants) filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that, because Smith had left the firehouse and was on his way home to attend to personal matters when the collision occurred, there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether Smith was acting within the scope of his employment with the fire company at that time. The trial court ultimately granted that motion and rendered judgment in favor of the municipal defendants. Thereafter, the plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Court, which affirmed the judgment of the trial court. See Fiano v. Old Saybrook Fire Co. No. 1, Inc., 180 Conn. App. 717, 744, 184 A.3d 1218 (2018). We then granted the plaintiff's petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the Appellate Court, limited to the following issue: “Did the Appellate Court properly uphold the trial court's granting of summary judgment on the ground that there is no genuine issue of material fact that an agency relationship did not exist between the [municipal] defendants and [Smith] at the time of his motor vehicle accident with the plaintiff?” Fiano v. Old Saybrook Fire Co. No. 1, Inc., 329 Conn. 910, 186 A.3d 14 (2018). We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")

AC41219 - Smith v. Marshview Fitness, LLC ("In this commercial dispute relating to the sale of certain property belonging to two fitness centers, the plaintiff, Brant Smith, appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendant Marshview Fitness, LLC. The trial court concluded that the defendant was entitled to summary judgment because the transfer of certain property, in which the plaintiff claims to have had an economic interest, was not fraudulent, as a matter of law, under either the common law or the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA), General Statutes § 52-552a et seq. In doing so, the trial court also rejected the plaintiff's related claim under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq.

On appeal, the plaintiff claims, among other things, that the trial court improperly (1) concluded that the transfer at issue was not fraudulent under the common law or UFTA because the property that was transferred did not constitute "assets," (2) rejected his CUTPA claim on the ground that it was based solely on his allegations of fraudulent transfer, and (3) denied his motion to reargue. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3518

SC20025, SC20026, SC20027, SC20028 - Demond v. Project Service, LLC (Negligence, public nuisance; "On appeal, the defendants contend that their contractual undertaking at the service plaza did not create a duty to third-party motorists injured off the service plaza premises by a drunk driver who became intoxicated at the service plaza; the plaintiffs, in their cross appeal, contend that the trial court improperly rendered summary judgment on their public nuisance claims. We conclude that the defendants' contractual undertaking did not create a duty to the plaintiffs, and the plaintiffs' public nuisance claims fail as a matter of law. We therefore reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41234 - DeMaria v. City of Bridgeport (Personal injury; "The defendant, the city of Bridgeport, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered plaintiff, Victor DeMaria, for injuries he sustained in a fall that occurred on the defendant's sidewalk. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly admitted into evidence certain medical records that had been written by Miriam Vitale, a physician assistant who was the plaintiff's primary care provider at the veterans affairs hospital (hospital) in West Haven, under General Statutes § 52-174 (b). We agree with the defendant that the court improperly admitted the medical records written by Vitale into evidence under § 52-174 (b), and that the defendant was harmed by the court’s error. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for a new trial.")

AC39859 - Lewis v. Alves ("The self-represented plaintiff, Kacey Lewis, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendering summary judgment in favor of the defendants, who are current or former employees of the Connecticut Department of Correction at Cheshire Correctional Institution. Although the plaintiff in his five count complaint, which was brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleged violations of his federal constitutional rights, on appeal, the plaintiff challenges the rendering of summary judgment only as to three alleged constitutional violations. In particular, the plaintiff claims that the court erroneously rendered summary judgment on the third count of his compliant as to his allegations that he was denied due process when (1) he was not permitted to call a witness at his discretionary hearing and (2) he was assigned an unwanted advocate for that same hearing, who advocated against his interests. The plaintiff also claims that the court erred in his fifth count that he was subjected to improper conditions of confinement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3502

AC41010 - Reiner v. Reiner (Breach of fiduciary duty; "The present appeal stems from a dispute over the interpretation of a settlement agreement between, among others, the plaintiff Michael D. Reiner and the defendant Jeffrey A. Reiner. The defendant appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a hearing pursuant to Audubon Parking Associates Ltd. Partnership v. Barclay & Stubbs, Inc., 225 Conn. 804, 811–12, 626 A.2d 288 (2010) (Audubon), denying his motion to enforce the agreement. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly concluded that the settlement agreement is clear and unambiguous, as construed by the plaintiff. We conclude that the contested sections of the agreement are not clear and unambiguous and, accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court denying the defendant's motion to enforce the agreement on the alternative ground that a settlement agreement that is not clear and unambiguous cannot be enforced through an Audubon hearing.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3496

AC41170 - Ferrari v. Johnson & Johnson, Inc. (Product liability; "The plaintiff, Raymond C. Ferrari, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Johnson & Johnson, Inc., and Synthes, Inc. The plaintiff claims that the court erred by holding that (1) he cannot prove that the defendants' product was defective, or that the product's alleged defect caused the plaintiff's injury, without the use of expert testimony, and (2) the learned intermediary doctrine barred the plaintiff's failure to warn claim. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40216 - Fisk v. Redding (Public nuisance; "The plaintiff, Gregg Fisk, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered on a jury verdict in favor of the defendant town of Redding. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in (1) denying his motion to set aside the verdict and (2) excluding evidence of subsequent remedial measures. We agree with the plaintiff's first claim but disagree with the second.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3471

AC41412 - Gilman v. Shames (Bystander emotional distress; "The plaintiff, Glenn Gilman, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his action against the defendants Brian Shames, M.D., and the state of Connecticut (state). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over his bystander emotional distress claims on the grounds that (1) his claim against Shames, to the extent that the plaintiff was suing Shames in his individual capacity, was barred by statutory immunity pursuant to General Statutes § 4-165, and (2) his claim against the state was derivative of a wrongful death action that had not been brought and, as a result of the expiration of the limitations period set forth in General Statutes § 52-555, could not be brought by the estate of the decedent, Lisa Wenig. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40742 - Maurice v. Chester Housing Associates Ltd. Partnership (Negligence; "The plaintiff, De Ann Maurice, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the defendants, Chester Housing Associates Limited Partnership, MJKH Property Services, LLC, and Something Natural, LLC, following a jury trial. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court abused its discretion (1) when it did not allow the plaintiff's expert witness to testify as an expert in snow removal, and (2) when, in granting the plaintiff's motion for sanctions, it denied the plaintiff's request that the court render a default judgment as a sanction against Chester Housing Associates Limited Partnership as a penalty for the egregious misconduct of its general and managing partner, Douglas H. Williams. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40749 - Sutera v. Natiello (Negligence; "This appeal arises from a substantial monetary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Nathanial Sutera, who sustained serious injuries when he fell from scaffolding erected on the side of a three story building owned by the defendant Deborah Natiello. The defendants, Natiello and Timothy Sutera (Timothy S.), appeal following the trial court's denial of their motion to set aside the verdict or for remittitur. On appeal, the defendants claim that (1) the trial court committed harmful error by giving a jury instruction on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, and (2) the jury verdict was improperly influenced by sympathy for the plaintiff. We conclude that the first claim is unreviewable and the second claim is without merit. We, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3464

AC41407 - Seale v. GeoQuest, Inc. (Negligence; "The plaintiff, Daniel C. Seale, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, following a bench trial, rendered in favor of the defendant, GeoQuest, Inc. The dispositive issue on appeal is whether the court properly determined that the defendant did not violate the standard of care. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


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