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Contract Law

Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5764

SC20803 - Stiegler v. Meriden ("The plaintiffs are three firefighters who retired during ongoing contract negotiations between their municipal employer and their union regarding a wage reopener to their collective bargaining agreement. After the effective dates of their retirements, an arbitration panel issued an interest arbitration award pursuant to the provisions of General Statutes § 7-473c of the Municipal Employee Relations Act, General Statutes § 7-460 et seq., granting all firefighters in that municipality a retroactive wage increase. The plaintiffs filed a breach of contract action, alleging, among other things, that they were entitled to a recalculation of their pension benefits to reflect the retroactive wage increase. The trial court agreed with the plaintiffs and rendered judgment in their favor on the breach of contract claims. On appeal, the defendants claim that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiffs had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies and, on the merits, that the trial court had incorrectly concluded that the plaintiffs were entitled to a recalculation of their pension benefits. We conclude that the trial court properly exercised jurisdiction but erroneously determined that the plaintiffs are entitled to receive a retroactive increase in their pension benefits and, therefore, reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5744

SC20774 - Hassett v. Secor's Auto Center, Inc. (“In this certified appeal, we consider the propriety of a jury’s damages award for a consumer’s revocation of acceptance of a motor vehicle pursuant to the Uniform Commercial Code and, in particular, General Statutes § 42a-2-711. The plaintiff, Erin C. Hassett, appeals, upon our grant of her petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court’s denial of her motion for additur and rendering judgment in accordance with the verdict against the defendant, Secor’s Auto Center, Inc. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the trial court had not abused its discretion in denying her motion for additur. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the Appellate Court’s judgment.”)


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Greenlee, Rebecca

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5743

AC45239 - Jacques v. Jacques ("The plaintiff, Jean-Marc Jacques, appeals from the judgment of the trial court awarding attorney's fees to his former wife, the defendant, Muriel Jacques. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in awarding the defendant $51,641 in attorney's fees under the bad faith exception to the American rule by concluding that the underlying breach of contract action he brought against the defendant was entirely without color and brought in bad faith. In particular, he claims that the court's award was not supported by the requisite factual findings that are required under the bad faith exception. We agree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for a new hearing on the defendant's motion for attorney's fees.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5736

AC45707 - E. I. du Pont de Numours & Co. v. Chemtura Corp. (“This breach of contract case, which was commenced by the plaintiff, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont), in 2014, was first tried to the trial court in 2018, after which the court rendered judgment in favor of the defendant, Chemtura Corporation, on the ground that DuPont failed to strictly comply with the notice provisions of an asset purchase agreement (APA) between the parties. Our Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded the case for further proceedings on the breach of contract claims. See E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Chemtura Corp., 336 Conn. 194, 218, 244 A.3d 130 (2020). Following its review of the record from the first trial and further briefing from the parties, the court rendered judgment in favor of the defendant. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that (1) the court erred in rejecting its breach of contract claims as to certain fire protection systems in that it failed to determine the applicable law and apply that law to the evidence to determine whether those fire protection systems violated the Arkansas State Fire Code, and (2) the court misinterpreted the applicable federal regulations and improperly concluded that those regulations did not require the replacement of certain refrigeration units that leaked ozone depleting substances at rates exceeding the statutory threshold for several consecutive years. We affirm 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=5735

AC45072 - Dessa, LLC v. Riddle ("The plaintiff landlord, Dessa, LLC, commenced the underlying action against the defendants, Peter Riddle (Peter) and his son, Jonathan Riddle (Jonathan), to collect unpaid rent pursuant to a written lease agreement that was allegedly entered into between the parties. Jonathan appeals from the judgment of the trial court finding the defendants jointly and severally liable for damages in the amount of $11,113.06. Jonathan claims that (1) newly discovered evidence demonstrates that the plaintiff interfered with the court's ability to be impartial and equitable in this case, and (2) the court's findings are clearly erroneous. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5664

AC45220 - Schofield v. Rafley, Inc. (“This action sounding in breach of contract and employment discrimination follows a prior action commenced in 2017 between the same parties that involved similar claims (2017 action). See Schofield v. Rafley, Inc., Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford, Docket No. CV-17-6078256-S (May 14, 2020). The substitute plaintiff, Andrea Sadler, executor of the estate of Lydia Schofield (decedent), now appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendants, Rafley, Inc. (Rafley), Joseph Mason, and Karen Mason. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) dismissed the decedent’s employment discrimination count as untimely and (2) granted the motion for summary judgment in favor of Rafley on the breach of contract count. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5653

AC45606 - HM Construction & Painting, LLC v. 32 Wilmot Place, LLC (“The plaintiff, HM Construction & Painting, LLC, appeals from the judgments rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants1 in these related actions sounding in breach of contract, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, and foreclosure of mechanic’s liens. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that (1) the court improperly rendered judgments for the defendants because the defendants’ motions for summary judgment were not supported by admissible evidence, (2) the court failed to consider the defendants’ alleged bad faith in asserting a special defense, and (3) the court abused its discretion by rendering its decision on the motions for summary judgment on April 11, 2022, despite having indicated that it intended to hold a status conference prior to ruling on the motions, which it did not do. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5644

AC45118 - Kennynick, LLC v. Standard Petroleum Co. (“The plaintiff Kennynick, LLC, appeals, and the defendant, Standard Petroleum Company, cross appeals, from the judgment of the trial court in this dispute between a wholesale gasoline distributor and a retail gasoline dealer. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) calculated the applicable time period for which it awarded prejudgment interest, (2) concluded that the plaintiff had not established violations of either the Connecticut Petroleum Franchise Act (CPFA), General Statutes § 42-133j et seq., or the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., and (3) permitted the defendant to offer evidence to support unpleaded special defenses of offset or recoupment. In its cross appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) construed the contract between the parties to require it to pass along a federal tax credit to the plaintiff and (2) denied its special defenses of waiver and voluntary payment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC45740 - Cokic v. Fiore Powersports, LLC (“The plaintiff, Dejan Robert Cokic, appeals from the judgment of the trial court awarding $2360.89 in attorney’s fees to the defendant Village Marina, LLC. On appeal, the plaintiff claims, inter alia, that the court abused its discretion in awarding the defendant attorney’s fees on the basis of its conclusion that the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant were brought without color and in bad faith. We agree and, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court.”)


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5595

AC44975 - CCI Computerworks, LLC v. Evernet Consulting, LLC (“The defendant, Evernet Consulting, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, CCI Computerworks, LLC, on the defendant’s counterclaim asserting claims of breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and indemnification. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly concluded that (1) the agreement executed by the parties attributed liability to the defendant, rather than to the plaintiff, for unemployment taxes, plus interest and penalties, assessed on the defendant by the Department of Labor (department), or (2) in the alternative, the plaintiff was not unjustly enriched by the defendant’s payment of the unemployment taxes, interest, and penalties. We conclude that the court properly rendered judgment in the plaintiff’s favor on the defendant’s counterclaim. In addition, the plaintiff cross appeals from the judgment of the court rendered in its favor on count one of its second amended complaint asserting breach of contract. On cross appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) denied its motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of a settlement offer, (2) admitted the settlement evidence in full into the record, (3) relied on the settlement evidence to conclude that it had failed to mitigate its damages, and (4) failed to adjudicate its claim that the defendant breached the parties’ agreement by crediting certain costs against the payments that the defendant owed pursuant to the agreement. We agree with the plaintiff’s claims of error regarding the settlement evidence, but we disagree with the plaintiff’s contention that the court overlooked one of its claims. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court rendered on the plaintiff’s second amended complaint, and we affirm the judgment in all other respects.”)


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5589

AC45274 - Fraser Lane Associates, LLC v. Chip Fund 7, LLC . (The defendant, Chip Fund 7, LLC, appeals from the judgments of the trial court confirming an arbitration award in favor of the plaintiff, Fraser Lane Associates, LLC, and denying the defendant’s application to vacate an arbitration award. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred because (1) the arbitration award violates public policy, (2) the arbitrator exceeded his authority under the arbitration agreement, and (3) the arbitrator manifestly disregarded the law. We disagree and, accordingly, 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=5581

AC44836, AC45267 - Barbara v. Colonial Surety Co. ("In Docket No. AC 44836, Colonial appeals from the denial of its motion for summary judgment in the Barbaras’ action, in which it asserted that the Barbaras’ claims were precluded pursuant to the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel. In Docket No. AC 45267, the Barbaras appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered following the granting of Colonial’s motion for summary judgment in the indemnity action. On appeal, Colonial claims that the court improperly concluded that the Barbaras’ action is not precluded by the doctrines of res judicata and/or collateral estoppel, and the Barbaras claim that the court improperly concluded that they failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact with respect to their allegations that Colonial acted in bad faith in settling the New York action. We 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=5549

AC45127 - Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park LLC v. Borodkin (“The plaintiff, Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park, LLC (Brownstone), appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying its application to compel arbitration of a dispute involving the defendant, Diane Borodkin, who previously had filed an action against Brownstone for personal injuries (personal injury action) that she allegedly sustained when she slipped and fell on an unmarked tree root while walking on a path just past the entrance to a park owned and operated by Brownstone. Brownstone filed its application pursuant to General Statutes § 52-410 seeking to compel arbitration of the dispute in accordance with an agreement that Borodkin signed when she entered the park, which was titled ‘‘Release and Waiver of Claims Arising From Inherent Risks, Indemnity and Arbitration Agreement’’ (agreement). The trial court found the language of the arbitration provision in the agreement to be ambiguous and, as a result, concluded that the issue of arbitrability was a matter for the court to decide. The court further determined that the claim was not arbitrable because it did not fall within the scope of the agreement. Finally, the court concluded, sua sponte, that Brownstone’s application also must be denied on procedural grounds.

On appeal, Brownstone claims that (1) the court erred by concluding that the issue of arbitrability was a matter for the court, not the arbitrators, to decide, and (2) the court erred in denying its application to compel arbitration on procedural grounds. We agree with both of these claims and, thus, reverse the judgment of the court.”)


Civil Procedure Supreme Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5526

SC20746 - In re Cole (“In 1993, the legislature, for the first time, enacted a so-called ‘homestead act,’ whereby a debtor could protect up to $75,000 of the value of a primary residence from attachment in postjudgment proceedings or bankruptcy. See Public Acts 1993, No. 93-301, § 2 (P.A. 93-301). Although P.A. 93-301 had an effective date of October 1, 1993, and thus applied to any proceedings initiated on or after that date, the act included a special carve-out: the homestead exemption could not be claimed for debts accrued prior to the effective date. See P.A. 93-301, § 3. In 2021, the legislature amended the homestead act and replaced it with a new version that included several changes from the prior version of the act. For purposes of this appeal, the relevant change made by the legislature was to increase the exemption from $75,000 to $250,000, but this time the legislature did not include any carve-out for preexisting debts. See Public Acts 2021, No. 21-161, § 1 (P.A. 21-161). The primary question presented by this appeal, which reaches us in the form of a certified question in a bankruptcy appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, is whether we should nevertheless read a carve-out into the 2021 public act. We decline to do so.”

“The District Court therefore certified to this court the question of ‘[w]hether [P.A.] 21-161 applies retroactively to debts incurred by the debtor before [P.A.] 21- 161 took effect or prospectively.’ We accepted certification but, pursuant to General Statutes § 51-199b (k), and for the reasons discussed in part II B 3 of this opinion, we will answer a slightly modified version of the certified question: does the expanded homestead exemption contained in P.A. 21-161, § 1, apply in bankruptcy proceedings filed on or after the effective date of the act to debts that accrued prior to that date? We answer that question in the affirmative.”


Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5494

SC20694 - Connex Credit Union v. Thibodeau (“We subsequently granted the defendant’s petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the Appellate Court to determine whether (1) ‘the Appellate Court properly interpret[ed] and appl[ied] the requirement of Connecticut’s [UCC] to notify a consumer-debtor that he or she has a right to an accounting of unpaid indebtedness after repossession of secured property,’ and (2) ‘[u]nder [RISFA] . . . a retail seller of a motor vehicle, after repossession and sale of the vehicle, [can] credit a retail buyer’s alleged deficiency only with the proceeds from the vehicle’s sale when the prima facie fair market value of the vehicle exceeded the amount of those proceeds . . . .’ Connex Credit Union v. Thibodeau, 342 Conn. 903, 270 A.3d 690 (2022).

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

The appeal is dismissed.”)


Contract Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5438

SC20581, SC20583 - Pryor v. Brignole (Appellate Jurisdiction; Whether the Denial of a Special Motion to Dismiss Filed Pursuant to General Statutes § 52-196a is an Appealable Final Judgment; "The sole issue in these certified appeals is whether the denial of a special motion to dismiss filed pursuant to our state's anti-SLAPP statute, General Statutes § 52-196a, is an appealable final judgment. The defendants, Timothy Brignole and Brignole, Bush & Lewis, LLC (law firm), appeal, upon our granting of their petitions for certification, from the judgments of the Appellate Court, which dismissed their appeals from the order of the trial court denying their special motions to dismiss the underlying civil action brought against them by the plaintiff, J. Xavier Pryor. Specifically, the defendants claim that the Appellate Court improperly dismissed their respective appeals for lack of a final judgment because (1) the legislature expressly provided for an interlocutory appeal of the denial of a special motion to dismiss in subsection (d) of § 52-196a, and (2) the denial of a special motion to dismiss filed pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute constitutes an appealable final judgment under the second prong of State v. Curcio, 191 Conn. 27, 31, 463 A.2d 566 (1983). For the reasons set forth in the companion case that we also decide today, Smith v. Supple, 346 Conn. ___, ___ A.3d ___ (2023), we conclude that a trial court's denial of a colorable special motion to dismiss filed pursuant to § 52-196a is an appealable final judgment under Curcio. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court and remand the case to that court for further proceedings according to law.")


Arbitration Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5427

AC44867 - ARVYS Protein, Inc. v. A/F Protein, Inc. (Arbitration; whether trial court improperly denied plaintiff's application to modify or vacate arbitration award; "The plaintiff, ARVYS Protein, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the defendant, A/F Protein, Inc., on the plaintiff's application to modify or vacate an arbitration award. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that (1) the arbitrator's award did not exceed the scope of submission by awarding noncontractual relief, (2) the arbitrator did not manifestly disregard the law by ignoring undisputed contract provisions that limited damages and disclaimed warranties, and (3) the award did not violate public policy because it did not arise from the unauthorized practice of law. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment.")


Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5394

SC20635, SC20637, SC20636 - Reserve Realty, LLC v. Windemere Reserve, LLC (“These consolidated appeals, which return to us for a second time, raise identical issues relating to the enforceability of four commercial real estate listing agreements. In Reserve Realty, LLC v. Windemere Reserve, LLC, 335 Conn. 174, 211, 229 A.3d 708 (2020) (Reserve Realty I), we held that the listing agreements did not violate state antitrust law and remanded the matter to the Appellate Court for consideration of the remaining grounds on which the defendants, BLT Reserve, LLC (BLT), and Windemere Reserve, LLC (Windemere), had prevailed at trial. On remand, the Appellate Court determined that the listing agreements were unenforceable because they failed to specify the duration of the brokerage authorization, as required by General Statutes § 20-325a (b) and/or (c). See Reserve Realty, LLC v. Windemere Reserve, LLC, 205 Conn. App. 299, 302–303, 336, 258 A.3d 711 (2021) (Reserve Realty II). We granted certification to address whether the Appellate Court decided that issue correctly and, if not, whether the trial court’s judgments should nonetheless be affirmed on the alternative ground that the listing agreements were unenforceable personal service contracts. We conclude that the exclusive listing agreements comply with the durational requirement of § 20-325a (c) but that they are personal service contracts that required the personal performance of the named broker, Jeanette Haddad, and we affirm the judgments of the Appellate Court on that basis.”)


Contract Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5390

AC45050 - Murchison v. Waterbury (“The defendant, the city of Waterbury, appeals from the judgment of the trial court awarding the plaintiffs, Dickie K. Murchison, Jr., and John J. Bigham, firefighters formerly employed by the defendant, terminal leave pay pursuant to their collective bargaining agreement (agreement). On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly concluded that the plaintiffs were entitled to terminal leave pay because (1) the plaintiffs ‘‘retired’’ within the meaning of the terminal leave pay provision of the agreement and (2) any ambiguity in the agreement should be construed against the defendant. We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.”)


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5389

AC44514 - Pascarella v. Silver ("This case concerns the proper application of the doctrine of res judicata. In their one count complaint, the plaintiffs, Henry Pascarella and Riversedge Partners, predicated their declaratory judgment action against the defendant R.S. Silver Enterprises, Inc., entirely on that doctrine of preclusion. Following a bifurcated bench trial, the trial court concluded that res judicata did not apply under the facts of this case. The plaintiffs now challenge the propriety of that determination. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Carey, Sean

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5382

AC44925 - Stewart v. Old Republic National Title Ins. Co. (“On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly concluded that, pursuant to the plaintiffs’ title insurance policies, the defendant had no duty to defend the plaintiffs in two actions involving the plaintiffs’ properties. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)