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Tort Law

Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3833

AC42024 - Raczkowski v. McFarlane ("The plaintiff, Toni Raczkowski, brought the underlying negligence action against the defendant landlord, Evelyn Garrow. The plaintiff sought compensation for damages she allegedly sustained when she was bitten by a dog owned by the defendant's tenant, David J. McFarlane, on the leased property. The plaintiff appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment because it erroneously concluded that the defendant did not owe her a duty of care on the basis of the lease agreement between the defendant and McFarlane.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=3829

SC20079 - Netscout Systems, Inc. v. Gartner, Inc. ("The plaintiff, NetScout Systems, Inc., is in the business of developing and selling information technology products that allow its customers to manage, monitor, diagnose and service their computer networks. The defendant, Gartner, Inc., publishes research reports in which it rates vendors, such as the plaintiff, that sell and service various forms of information technology. The defendant also sells consulting services to some of the vendors that it rates. In 2014, the defendant issued a research report (2014 report), in which it ranked the plaintiff lower than some of its competitors and made critical comments about the plaintiff. Thereafter, the plaintiff brought this action alleging that the defendant had engaged in a 'pay to play' scheme, in which it rewarded vendors that purchased consulting services from the defendant by giving them high ratings in its research reports. The plaintiff claimed that the alleged pay to play scheme constituted a false and deceptive business practice under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., and that the 2014 report contained false and defamatory statements about the plaintiff. The defendant, in response, raised a defense premised on the theory that its rankings and commentary were protected speech under the first amendment to the United States constitution.

The trial court agreed with the defendant. The court concluded that the defendant's 2014 report was constitutionally protected speech, and the plaintiff, as a limited purpose public figure, was required to present evidence that the defendant had acted with actual malice. The court found that the plaintiff had failed to do so and, accordingly, rendered summary judgment for the defendant with respect to both claims on that ground. The court also determined that the CUTPA claim failed because the plaintiff had not presented evidence to support the factual predicate for its pay to play allegation due to its own expert witness' inability to conclude that the defendant's ratings were correlated to the dollar volume of consulting services that the vendors had purchased from the defendant. The plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Court, and we transferred the appeal to this court pursuant to General Statutes § 51-199 (c) and Practice Book § 65-1.

We affirm the trial court's judgment on the alternative ground that all of the defendant's statements regarding the plaintiff were nonactionable expressions of opinion.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3823

AC41239 - Streifel v. Bulkley ("This appeal raises an issue of first impression in Connecticut: whether a patient may be liable under a theory of negligence for causing physical injuries to a medical care provider while that provider was furnishing medical care to the patient. We conclude, as a matter of law, that the law does not impose a duty of care on a patient to avoid negligent conduct that causes harm to a medical care provider while the patient is receiving medical care from that provider.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3816

AC41571 - Kolashuk v. Hatch ("The plaintiff in error, Lawrence H. Adler, the attorney for the defendant, Kyle Hatch, filed a writ of error with our Supreme Court, challenging the sanctions issued against him by the trial court, Bates, J., and the imposition of attorney's fees ordered by the trial court, Calmar, J. The case of Bank of New York v. Bell, 142 Conn. App. 125, 63 A.3d 1026, cert. denied, 310 Conn. 901, 75 A.3d 30 (2013), and cert. denied, 310 Conn. 901, 75 A.3d 31 (2013), which stands for the proposition that a party may not be ordered to produce documents owned by or in the possession of third parties, is dispositive of Adler's claims. We, therefore, grant the writ of error.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3793

AC41818 - Cyr v. VKB, LLC ("The plaintiff, Cynthia Cyr, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, VKB, LLC (VKB), Shady Oaks Assisted Living, LLC (Shady Oaks Assisted Living), Shady Oaks Rest Home, Inc. (Shady Oaks Rest Home), Vernon W. Belanger, and Kay F. Belanger. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants on all counts of her amended complaint when it (1) failed to require the defendants, as the movants for summary judgment, first to establish that there was no genuine issue as to any material fact, (2) determined that the defendants' alleged affirmative acts did not create the defect in the sidewalk, and (3) purportedly determined, as a matter of law, that a business owner that invites individuals to enter and exit its property at a particular location owes no duty to ensure that such location is reasonably safe. We affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Business Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3795

SC19940 - Saunders v. Briner ("This appeal requires us to consider five issues: (1) whether, in the absence of authorization in a limited liability company's operating agreement, its members or managers lack standing to bring derivative claims on behalf of it under either the Connecticut Limited Liability Company Act (CLLCA), General Statutes (Rev. to 2017) § 34-100 et seq., or, in the alternative, the common law; (2) whether a trial court may exempt single member limited liability companies from the direct and separate injury requirement necessary to bring a direct action; (3) under what circumstances may a trial court admit opinion testimony of a joint, court-appointed fiduciary hired to wind up the companies at issue when the party who proffered the testimony of the fiduciary failed to disclose him as an expert witness under Practice Book § 13-4; (4) under what circumstances, if any, may the trial court apportion its award of attorney's fees under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., between the plaintiff's CUTPA claims and non-CUTPA claims; and (5) the parameters under which a trial court may order reimbursement for fees incurred by a joint, court-appointed fiduciary hired to wind up the companies at issue. The defendants, Clark Briner and two entities solely owned by Briner, a Connecticut limited liability company and a Texas limited liability company with the same name, Revere Capital, LLC (respectively, Revere Capital CT and Revere Capital TX), appeal, following a bench trial, from the trial court's judgment. The plaintiff, Roger L. Saunders, cross appeals from the trial court's judgment. We reverse the trial court's judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff as to his derivative claims because we conclude that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring them under the CLLCA or the common law. We, therefore, do not reach the issues of whether the trial court improperly admitted the testimony of a joint, court-appointed fiduciary or whether the trial court incorrectly apportioned the plaintiff's award of attorney's fees under CUTPA. We affirm the trial court's judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff as to his direct claims and conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to order the defendants to reimburse the plaintiff for the fees incurred by the joint, court-appointed fiduciary and an accountant hired by him.")

SC20066 - Wiederman v. Halpert ("PER CURIAM. The plaintiff, Malkie Wiederman, commenced this action arising out of a real estate investment agreement with the defendants Issac Halpert and Marsha Halpert, seeking, inter alia, to recover damages for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, conversion, and violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq. After the trial court rendered a judgment of default against the defendants for failing to appear at a trial management conference, it held a hearing to determine damages. On the basis of the evidence presented by the plaintiff at that hearing, at which the defendants also failed to appear, the trial court awarded the plaintiff $600,892.58 in compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs. Thereafter, the defendants moved to open the judgment rendered against them and to enjoin the plaintiff from enforcing it. The trial court, noting both that the defendants received multiple notices to new and old addresses and that Issac Halpert failed to appear and to testify at the hearing on damages despite being personally served by subpoena, denied their motion. The defendants then appealed from the trial court's denial of their motion to open, claiming, inter alia, that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the plaintiff's claims because the alleged injuries sustained by her were derivative of the harm suffered by the limited liability companies of which she and the defendants were members, and, as such, the plaintiff lacked standing to recover directly. See Wiederman v. Halpert, 178 Conn. App. 783, 793, 176 A.3d 1242 (2017). The Appellate Court rejected the defendants' claim, concluding that, because the plaintiff sufficiently alleged an injury that was separate and distinct from that suffered by the limited liability companies—as she alleged, among other things, that the defendants forged her signature on certain financial documents—the trial court had properly exercised subject matter jurisdiction over her direct claims. See id., 797–98. We granted the defendants' petition for certification to appeal, limited to the following issue: "Did the Appellate Court properly uphold the determination of the trial court that the plaintiff had standing to sue?" Wiederman v. Halpert, 328 Conn. 906, 177 A.3d 1161 (2018).

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

The appeal is dismissed.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3790

SC20062 - Burke v. Mesniaeff ("The plaintiff, Elizabeth Burke, appeals from the Appellate Court's affirmance of the trial court's judgment rendered in favor of the defendant, Gregory Mesniaeff, after a jury returned a verdict finding that, although the defendant had perpetrated an intentional assault and battery on the plaintiff, his use of physical force was justified because, first, the plaintiff was trespassing at the time of the incident, and, second, he was acting in the defense of others. The plaintiff claims on appeal that (1) the jury should not have been instructed on the special defense of criminal trespass because the parties were married at the time of the assault and battery, and a spouse cannot, as a matter of law, trespass on marital property, and (2) the evidence was insufficient to support the jury's finding that the defendant was acting in defense of others. We conclude that the trial court improperly instructed the jury on criminal trespass and defense of premises as part of the jury charge on justification but that the instructional impropriety was harmless because the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's independent finding with respect to the special defense of defense of others. We therefore affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Tort Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3778

SC20129 - Osborn v. Waterbury (Negligence; public school playground supervision; "This appeal arises from an action filed by the plaintiffs, Tatayana Osborn (child), a minor child, by and through her mother, Tacarra Smith, alleging negligence on the part of the defendant city of Waterbury (city) and the defendant Waterbury Board of Education (board) for injuries sustained by the child during an altercation with other students during recess at a Waterbury public school. In this certified appeal, we must determine whether the Appellate Court correctly concluded that expert testimony was necessary to establish the standard of care in this negligence action. We conclude that, under the facts of the present case, expert testimony was not necessary. Accordingly, we reverse the Appellate Court's judgment and remand the case to that court for consideration of the remaining issues on appeal.")

AC41801 - Stevens v. Khalily (Intentional infliction of emotional distress; "The plaintiff, Eric Stevens, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion to dismiss filed by the defendants Tiffany Khalily and Edward Khalily, which was based on lack of personal jurisdiction due to improper service of process in that the plaintiff did not serve the defendants at their last known addresses. Specifically, the plaintiff argues that the trial court improperly relied on 'conclusory and self-serving affidavits of the defendants which were insufficient to rebut the presumption of proper service.' We disagree and 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=3767

SC20150 - Cenatiempo v. Bank of America, N.A. ("This appeal requires us to determine whether allegations that a residential loan servicer engaged in systematic misrepresentations, delays and evasiveness over several years of postdefault loan modification negotiations with the mortgagors can suffice to state a claim for a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., and a claim for negligence. The plaintiffs, mortgagors Sandra Cenatiempo and Carmine Cenatiempo, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, which granted the motion of the defendant loan servicer, Bank of America, N.A., to strike the plaintiffs' complaint. The plaintiffs' principal contention is that their allegations were legally sufficient to support their CUTPA and negligence claims because the defendant's pattern of misconduct violated clearly defined standards and policies reflected in Connecticut, federal, and national statutory and regulatory requirements aimed at preventing foreclosure that were binding on the defendant and that this conduct caused them substantial financial and emotional injury. We agree with the plaintiffs that the alleged facts could support a claim under CUTPA. We disagree with the plaintiffs, however, that the alleged facts would support a claim of negligence. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court insofar as it struck the CUTPA claim.")



Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3759

AC41599 - Telman v. Hoyt ("The plaintiff, Kathleen Telman, appeals from the trial court's judgment denying her motion to set aside the verdict as to damages and for additur. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court abused its discretion in denying her motion to 'set aside [the] verdict' as to damages and for additur because the court's award of attorney's fees to the plaintiff was so low that it shocks the conscience. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the plaintiff's motion for additur as to attorney's fees and, therefore, affirm the judgment.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3756

AC41924 - Benchmark Municipal Tax Services, Ltd. v. Greenwood Manor, LLC ("In this action to foreclose certain municipal property tax liens on a 9.9 acre parcel of property in Bridgeport (property), the substitute defendant and cross claim plaintiff, Main Street Business Management, Inc. (Main Street), appeals from the trial court's judgment rendered against it on its cross claim alleging that the cross claim defendant, Manuel Moutinho, tortiously interfered with a business expectancy and violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, General Statutes § 42-110 et seq. (CUTPA), and on its counterclaim alleging that the city engaged in tortious interference with a business expectancy and improperly sought to affect the property's value adversely by interfering with a proposed zone change.

On appeal, Main Street, as Greenwood's successor in interest, claims that the court improperly determined that (1) Moutinho did not tortiously interfere with a proposed sale of the property by Greenwood to the city, (2) the city did not tortiously interfere with the business relationship between Greenwood and Moutinho, and (3) the city did not tortiously interfere by causing the city's planning and zoning commission (commission) to reject a zoning reclassification that would have benefited Greenwood by increasing the property's marketability. We disagree and 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=3740

SC20119 - Tremont Public Advisors, LLC v. Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority ("The primary issue that we must resolve in this appeal is whether allegations that a quasi-public agency engaged in a sham competitive bidding procedure and awarded a contract to a preselected entity for corrupt reasons and in violation of a competitive bidding statute are sufficient to support a claim that the agency violated the Connecticut Antitrust Act, General Statutes § 35-24 et seq. (antitrust act). The plaintiff, Tremont Public Advisors, LLC, is a public affairs firm. The defendant, the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, is a quasi-public agency responsible for providing solid waste disposal and recycling services to numerous municipalities in this state pursuant to the Connecticut Solid Waste Management Services Act, General Statutes § 22a-257 et seq. In 2011, the defendant issued a request for proposals for the provision of municipal government liaison services (liaison services). The plaintiff submitted a proposal that complied with the request for proposals, but the defendant awarded the liaison services contract to the law firm of Brown Rudnick, LLP (Brown Rudnick), whose proposal was noncompliant. Thereafter, the plaintiff brought this action alleging that the defendant's request for proposals was a sham and that the defendant had violated General Statutes § 22a-268, which, according to the plaintiff, mandates a competitive bidding procedure for the liaison services contract. The plaintiff further alleged that the defendant's conduct excluded competitors for the liaison services contract in violation of the antitrust act. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the second substituted complaint, claiming, inter alia, that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring the antitrust claim. The defendant also filed a motion to strike, claiming that, even if the plaintiff had standing, it had not adequately alleged that the defendant's conduct had an adverse effect on competition as a whole in the relevant market, proof of which is required to establish a violation of the antitrust act, but had alleged only that it had an adverse effect on the plaintiff itself. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss but granted the motion to strike and rendered judgment in favor of the defendant. This appeal by the plaintiff and cross appeal by the defendant followed. We conclude that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring this action because it did not adequately allege an antitrust injury, and, therefore, the trial court improperly denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the second substituted complaint. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment in favor of the defendant.")



Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3737

AC40866 - Jamalipour v. Fairway's Edge Condominium Association, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Alireza Jamalipour, brought the underlying negligence action against the defendants Fairway's Edge Association, Inc. (association), and White & Katzman Property Services (property manager) seeking economic damages that he alleged to have been caused by faulty repairs to a deck attached to his condominium unit. The defendants appeal from the judgment rendered by the trial court in the plaintiff's favor in the amount of $31,900.The defendants claim that (1) the evidence did not support the court's award of damages and that the award will unjustly enrich the plaintiff and (2) the court erred in failing to consider relevant association bylaws and the Common Interest Ownership Act (act), General Statutes § 47-200 et seq. 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=3728

AC40736 - Tatoian v. Tyler ("The plaintiff, Richard Tatoian, in his capacity as trustee of the Ruth B. Tyler Irrevocable Trust, brought the underlying vexatious litigation action against the defendants, Bruce D. Tyler (Bruce Tyler) and Jay M. Tyler (Jay Tyler). The defendants are among the beneficiaries of the trust. In 2010, Jay Tyler commenced an action (prior action) against, among others, the plaintiff and Bruce Tyler. Jay Tyler named the plaintiff as a defendant in all seven counts of his complaint, but counts three through seven of the complaint were brought against the plaintiff exclusively. Essentially, with respect to the plaintiff, Jay Tyler alleged in his complaint that, in a variety of ways, the plaintiff had performed deficiently as trustee and sought money damages and equitable relief. In 2011, Bruce Tyler brought a cross complaint in the prior action. All four counts of the cross complaint, which was brought against the plaintiff exclusively, are nearly identical to the claims raised in counts four through seven of the complaint. Bruce Tyler sought, inter alia, money damages. After the plaintiff prevailed in the prior action, he commenced the present action, sounding in common-law and statutory vexatious litigation, for, inter alia, attorney's fees and costs he incurred, on behalf of the trust, in defending himself in the prior action. Following a court trial in the present action, the trial court found that the defendants lacked probable cause to bring one of the claims against the plaintiff in the prior action. Accordingly, the court rendered judgment in part in the plaintiff's favor and awarded him a portion of the attorney's fees and costs he incurred in defending the prior action.

The defendants appeal from the judgment of the trial court and raise the following claims: (1) the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the plaintiff's causes of action because he lacked standing at the time of the commencement of the present action; (2) the court improperly failed to consider whether the settlor of the trust, Ruth B. Tyler (Ruth Tyler), was subjected to undue influence in connection with the creation of the trust; (3) the court misinterpreted relevant law in its analysis of whether, in the prior action, the defendants had probable cause to claim that the plaintiff had violated General Statutes § 45a-541c by failing to diversify trust assets; and (4) the court misinterpreted relevant law in its analysis of whether the plaintiff could prevail in the present action merely by demonstrating that the defendants lacked probable cause to bring one of the claims that they brought against him in the prior action.

The plaintiff cross appeals from the judgment of the trial court. He claims that, although the court properly concluded that one of the claims raised against him by the defendants in the prior action was not supported by probable cause, the court erroneously failed to conclude that the defendants lacked probable cause to bring the remaining claims and had acted with malice in bringing the claims.

We disagree with the claims raised in the defendants' appeal but agree, in part, with the claim raised in the plaintiff's cross appeal. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Landlord/Tenant Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3718

AC41398, AC41543 - Commerce Park Associates, LLC v. Robbins; Robbins Eye Center, P.C. v. Commerce Park Associates, LLC ("The present appeals and cross appeal arise from two actions involving a commercial lease that share a nucleus of operative facts and were consolidated for trial. They raise, among other issues, whether the landlord's failure to take actions to remedy recurrent sewage backups into the leased premises occupied by an eye surgery center resulted in a constructive eviction that excused the tenant from the obligation to pay rent in accordance with the terms of the lease, and whether, as a result of the alleged inaction of the landlord and its property management company, the eye surgery center was entitled to recover compensatory damages for the loss of its use of improvements it previously had made to the premises.

In the action underlying AC 41398 (rent action), Commerce Park Associates, LLC (Commerce Park), sought to recover rent it alleges it was owed by a former tenant, Kim Robbins—an ophthalmologist and the owner of Robbins Eye Center, P.C. (REC). REC had occupied the lower level of a commercial property owned by Commerce Park in Bridgeport pursuant to a commercial lease but vacated the premises prior to the lease's expiration following a series of sewage backups that flooded the premises. Robbins now appeals, and Commerce Park cross appeals, from the judgment of the trial court rendered in part in favor of Commerce Park. Robbins claims that the court improperly (1) awarded Commerce Park rent for a period of time from November, 2014, through the third full week of April, 2015, and (2) miscalculated the amount of the rent that she owed for that period. Commerce Park claims by way of cross appeal that the court improperly determined that Robbins was constructively evicted from the premises after the third full week of April, 2015, by the sewage backups, and, consequently, Commerce Park was not entitled to recover any rent from Robbins after that date. We affirm the judgment of the court with the exception of its calculation of the amount of the rent awarded to Commerce Park and, accordingly, remand for a new hearing in damages in the rent action.

In the action underlying AC 41543 (tort action), REC sued Commerce Park and its property manager, RDR Management, LLC (RDR), seeking monetary damages for economic injuries that REC suffered as a result of their failure to make necessary repairs to the premises. Commerce Park now appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in part in favor of REC and awarding REC damages of $958,041.92 against Commerce Park. Commerce Park claims that the trial court improperly (1) awarded damages on the basis of gross negligence because (a) Connecticut common law does not recognize distinctions or degrees of negligence and (b) REC never pleaded or otherwise asserted allegations of gross negligence prior to trial; and (2) miscalculated the amount of damages awarded because the court (a) utilized an incorrect measure of damages in determining REC's losses and (b) misconstrued the length of Robbins' expected tenancy under the lease, which was an integral component of the court's calculation of damages. We agree that the court improperly included two unexercised lease extension options in determining the length of Robbins' tenancy and, accordingly, reverse the amount of damages awarded; we otherwise affirm the judgment of the court in the tort action.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3715

AC40329 - Wager v. Moore ("The plaintiff, Rachel Wager, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the defendant Alexandria Moore in an action to recover damages for injuries that she sustained when she was struck by a vehicle operated by the defendant. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred when it (1) denied the plaintiff's motion to set aside the verdict on the basis of insufficient evidence to support the jury's finding of contributory negligence, (2) instructed the jury on contributory negligence when such a charge was not supported by the evidence, (3) failed to instruct the jury on law essential to the plaintiff's claim regarding the defendant's negligence, and (4) denied the plaintiff's motion for a mistrial and later motion to set aside the verdict, which were based on the improper introduction of hearsay evidence against her at trial. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Decision

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3711

AC40839 - Jezouit v. Malloy ("The plaintiff, Lawrence S. Jezouit, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his complaint on the basis of sovereign immunity. The plaintiff argues that the court improperly dismissed his complaint because (1) he brought his claim pursuant to General Statutes § 52-570d, which he contends waives sovereign immunity by force of necessary implication, and (2) he seeks declaratory and injunctive relief in accordance with a recognized exception to sovereign immunity. We disagree and, thus, 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=3701

AC41964 - Klein v. Quinnipiac University ("In this premises liability action, the plaintiff, Daniel Klein, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the defendant, Quinnipiac University. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred by (1) permitting a witness to testify about the estimated speed of the plaintiff's bicycle at the time of his collision, and (2) refusing to give a jury instruction on the definition of, and the duty owed to, a licensee. For the reasons discussed herein, we 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=3690

AC41393 - Daley v. Kashmanian ("This appeal stems from a personal injury action brought by the plaintiff, Devonte Daley, against the defendants, Zachary Kashmanian and the city of Hartford (city), seeking damages for the injuries he sustained when Kashmanian, a detective with the Hartford Police Department who had been surveilling the plaintiff in an unmarked police car, allegedly, negligently and recklessly caused the plaintiff to be ejected from his motorcycle. The plaintiff appeals, following a jury trial, from the judgment of the trial court directing a verdict in favor of Kashmanian on the plaintiff's recklessness claim, and from the judgment of the trial court setting aside the jury's verdict on the plaintiff's negligence claim. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) directed a verdict because there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find that Kashmanian engaged in reckless conduct, and (2) set aside the verdict with respect to the negligence claim on the ground that the defendants were entitled to governmental immunity because Kashmanian was engaged in ministerial, not discretionary, conduct. We agree with the plaintiff's first claim only, and, accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court directing a verdict on the recklessness claim and affirm the judgment of the trial court setting aside the verdict on the negligence claim.")

AC41298 - Peek v. Manchester Memorial Hospital ("The plaintiff, Delores Peek, appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendants, Manchester Memorial Hospital and Prospect Medical Holdings, Inc. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly determined that her action was barred by the statute of limitations in General Statutes § 52-584.[1]Because we conclude that the evidence before the trial court demonstrated a genuine issue of material fact as to when the plaintiff discovered her injury as contemplated by § 52-584, 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=3686

AC20097 - King v. Volvo Excavators AB ("The plaintiff, Donita J. King, individually and as executrix of the estate of Daniel H. King (decedent), appeals from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendants Volvo Group North America, LLC (VGNA), Volvo Construction Equipment North America, LLC (VCENA), and Tyler Equipment Corporation (Tyler Equipment), on claims arising from a workplace accident in which the bucket of an excavator became dislodged and fell on the decedent, causing fatal injuries. On appeal, the plaintiff asserts that the trial court improperly granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment. The plaintiff's primary claim on appeal is that the statute of repose applied to her product liability claims, General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) § 52-577a, is unconstitutional because it creates two classes of claimants—employees who are subject to a ten year statute of repose and nonemployees who are not subject to the ten year statute of repose if the claimant can show that the product was within its useful safe life when the injury occurred. While the defendants' motions for summary judgment were pending before the trial court, the legislature enacted Number 17-97 of the 2017 Public Acts (P.A. 17-97), which combined those two classes of claimants by removing the limitations provision applicable to employees. In its decision on the motions for summary judgment, the trial court concluded that P.A. 17-97 was not retroactive and applied the statute of repose applicable to employees to bar the plaintiff's claims.

We conclude that the trial court improperly rendered judgment in favor of the defendants because the amendment to the statute of repose in P.A. 17-97 retroactively applied to the plaintiff's claims. As a result, we need not address the plaintiff's claim on appeal that General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) § 52-577a is unconstitutional. Instead, we conclude that the trial court must consider whether there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the injury occurred during the useful safe life of the product.")



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