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Declaratory Judgment Law

Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5831

AC45630 - Jefferson Solar, LLC v. Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection ("The plaintiff, Jefferson Solar, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing its action for a declaratory judgment pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act (UAPA), General Statutes § 4-166 et seq. After the defendant Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (department) declined to issue the plaintiff's requested declaratory ruling pursuant to General Statutes § 4-176 (e), the plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment in the Superior Court pursuant to General Statutes § 4-175 (a).On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over its declaratory judgment action. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5778

AC45974 - Vering v. Groton Long Point Assn., Inc. (Declaratory judgment; adverse possession; prescriptive easement; "The present case arises from a dispute between the plaintiffs, Peter B. Viering, Russell W. Viering, Jr., Christine Carr, Jane M. Battles, Thomas E. Kingston, Jr., and Bobbye Lou Sims, and the defendant, The Groton Long Point Association, Inc., concerning the plaintiffs' claimed right to make exclusive use of two strips of land denominated as rights-of-way on land owned by the defendant that abuts the plaintiffs' residential properties in the Groton Long Point section of Groton. The plaintiffs appeal from the judgment rendered against them by the trial court on the granting of a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant and the denial of the plaintiffs' own motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred in its summary judgment rulings by (1) failing to consider whether access easements over the two rights-of-way had been granted to them by deed, and thereby conferred on them the right to use such rights-of-way to the exclusion of all others, and failing in so ruling to consider certain extrinsic evidence allegedly relevant to that claim; (2) concluding that the defendant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the plaintiffs' claim that they had acquired the rights-of-way by adverse possession or, alternatively, that they had acquired prescriptive easements over the rights-of-way; and (3) failing to address their claim that the defendant had abandoned the rights-of-way. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5609

AC45623 - Williams v. Green Power Ventures, LLC ("The plaintiffs, Davidson D. Williams and Barbara R. Williams, appeal from the judgment of the trial court on their complaint against the defendants, Green Power Ventures, LLC (Green Power), 141 Anchorage, LLC, Edward Stern and Amy Stern (Sterns), and Keith J. Manca Building Company, LLC (Manca Building), and on the counterclaim filed by Green Power and 141 Anchorage, LLC. The plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and damages for trespass and nuisance arising out of the defendants' alleged interference with the plaintiffs' use of a right-of-way easement over Green Power's property, which abuts 141 Anchorage, LLC's property. In their counterclaim, Green Power and 141 Anchorage, LLC, sought a declaratory judgment defining the permissible uses of the easement. In resolving the parties' competing claims, the court concluded that the plaintiffs' easement is limited to foot passage only, that the plaintiffs were not entitled to injunctive relief or attorney's fees, and that the plaintiffs were entitled to $500 as 'token damages' on their nuisance claim.

On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly (1) concluded that their easement is limited to foot passage only, (2) found that the fence and gate that the defendants placed across the right-of-way did not constitute an unreasonable interference with the plaintiffs' use of the easement, (3) found that the defendants did not engage in brazen and wanton conduct in connection with the planning, permitting, and development of their project that interferes with the plaintiffs' use of the easement, and (4) failed to consider evidence that the defendants are altering the location and dimensions of the easement. We agree with the plaintiffs' first claim and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Declaratory Judgment Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5583

SC20723 - State v. Avoletta ("The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether No. 17-4, § 1, of the 2017 Special Acts (S.A. 17-4) is an unconstitutional public emolument in violation of article first, § 1, of the Connecticut constitution. The defendants, Joanne Avoletta, Peter Avoletta, and Matthew Avoletta, appeal, upon our grant of their petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's judgment in favor of the plaintiff, the state of Connecticut. See State v. Avoletta, 212 Conn. App. 309, 312, 339, 275 A.3d 716 (2022). On appeal, the defendants claim that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that S.A. 17-4, pursuant to which the General Assembly extended the time limitation under General Statutes § 4-148 for the defendants to bring their claim against the state for injuries arising from poor indoor air quality at certain public schools, constitutes an unconstitutional public emolument because it does not serve a legitimate public purpose. We disagree with the defendants and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Carey, Sean

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5418

AC45114 - Fitzgerald v. Bridgeport (“The plaintiffs, Brian Fitzgerald, Steven Lougal, and Roderick G. Porter, captains in the Bridgeport Police Department (police department), and Anthony S. Armeno, deputy chief of the police department, commenced this action against the city of Bridgeport (city) and five other defendants, seeking injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that the defendants failed to follow the civil service provisions of the Bridgeport City Charter (city charter) in appointing Captain Rebeca Garcia to the position of assistant police chief of the police department. Following a bench trial, the trial court granted the plaintiffs’ request for declaratory relief and declared that the city, Mayor Joseph Ganim, and Chief of Police A.J. Perez failed to adhere to the city charter and rules of the Bridgeport Civil Service Commission (commission) when appointing Garcia to the assistant police chief position on December 18, 2019. The court declined to grant the plaintiffs any injunctive relief.

On appeal, the defendants claim, among other things, that the court erred in concluding that David J. Dunn, the city’s personnel director, had not conducted a ‘‘proper noncompetitive examination’’ pursuant to § 211 of the city charter before Garcia was appointed to the assistant police chief position. After oral arguments in this appeal, however, Garcia ceased serving in the assistant police chief position due to her retirement from the police department. In light of this development, the defendants now claim that the appeal is moot and that vacatur of the trial court’s judgment is warranted. We agree with the defendants, dismiss the appeal as moot, and vacate the judgment of the trial court.”)


Declaratory Judgment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Carey, Sean

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5403

SC20755 - Cerame v. Lamont (“The sole issue in this case, which comes to us on certification from the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut; see General Statutes § 51-199b (d); is whether the speech alleged in the complaint of the plaintiff, Mario Cerame, comes within the scope of the phrase ‘by his advertisement,’ as used in General Statutes § 53-37. Because the plaintiff’s complaint does not allege any speech constituting an ‘advertisement,’ we conclude that § 53-37 does not apply.”)


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 Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5346

SC20617 - Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co. v. Pasiak ("This case comes to us for the second time following lengthy litigation of a declaratory judgment action brought by the plaintiffs, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, against the defendant Jeffrey S. Pasiak. The action concerned whether the plaintiffs were obligated to indemnify the defendant, a business owner, under a personal umbrella insurance policy for liability arising from his false imprisonment of his company's employee at her workplace.

....

"The trial court properly applied the preponderance of the evidence standard at the trial de novo to determine the factual question of whether the plaintiffs established that the business pursuits exclusion of the umbrella insurance policy barred coverage. The defendant's argument to the contrary conflates the legal standard for construction of a policy exclusion and the burden of proof to be applied in a declaratory judgment action to determine whether, as a factual matter, a policy exclusion applies.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

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

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


Business Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5092

AC4417, AC44597 - Levco Tech, Inc. v. Kelly ("In this dispute among family members over control of the family business, the defendants, Sally Levene (Sally), both individually and as executrix of the estate of Martin Levene (Martin), and Edward Levene (Edward), bring these consolidated appeals from the judgment of the trial court determining that the defendants Robert Levene (Robert), Jeffrey Levene (Jeffrey), and Dorothy Kelly (Dot) owned the majority of the outstanding shares of common stock of the plaintiff, Levco Tech, Inc. (Levco). On appeal, Sally and Edward claim that the court improperly determined that (1) Dot had not placed her ten shares of Levco stock in an irrevocable trust and (2) the issuance of twelve shares of Levco stock to Edward was invalid. We disagree and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

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

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


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5040

AC44330 - Highland Street Associates v. Commissioner of Transportation ("In this declaratory judgment action, the defendants, the Commissioner of Transportation (commissioner) and the Department of Transportation (department), appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, Highland Street Associates (Highland Street) and Barrett Outdoor Communications, Inc. (Barret Outdoor). On appeal, the defendants claim that the court erred in concluding that the replacement of a billboard's existing trestle support structure with a monopole constituted maintenance and repair under the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 (act), 23 U.S.C. § 131 et seq., and General Statutes § 13a-123. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4973

AC43851 - State v. Avoletta (Free public education in a safe setting; subject matter jurisdiction; “The defendants appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the state and from the judgment of dismissal of their counterclaim. As to the summary judgment, the defendants claim that the court improperly concluded that the special act authorizing their first claim to proceed before the Claims Commissioner (commissioner) constituted an unconstitutional public emolument in violation of article first, § 1, of the Connecticut constitution, and the General Assembly did not automatically waive the state’s sovereign immunity as to the defendants’ second claim by remanding their claim to the commissioner. As to the dismissal of the counterclaim, the defendants claim that the court erred in determining that their counterclaim was barred by sovereign immunity. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Insurance Law Supreme Court Slip Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4862

SC20586 - Allstate Ins. Co. v. Tenn ("The question in this case is whether the plaintiff, Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate), can use a plea of nolo contendere entered by the named defendant, Donte Tenn, to trigger a criminal acts exclusion in a homeowners insurance policy governed by Connecticut law. Allstate commenced the present action against Tenn and another defendant, Tailan Moscaritolo, in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, seeking a judgment declaring that it has no contractual duty either to defend or to indemnify Tenn in a civil action brought against Tenn by Moscaritolo in Connecticut Superior Court. Allstate subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment in this declaratory judgment action, arguing that Tenn’s plea of nolo contendere relieved it of its duty both to defend and to indemnify him as a matter of law. The parties agreed that a ruling on Allstate’s motion with respect to indemnification would be premature, and, as a result, the District Court denied Allstate’s motion with respect to that issue without prejudice. The only remaining question, which the District Court, in turn, certified to this court pursuant to General Statutes § 51-199b (d) and Practice Book § 82-1, is whether Tenn’s plea of nolo contendere relieved Allstate of its duty to defend by triggering the policy’s criminal acts exclusion as a matter of law. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that Tenn’s plea of nolo contendere is inadmissible to prove the occurrence of a criminal act and, therefore, cannot be used to trigger the policy’s criminal acts exclusion.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4619

AC43888 - Wright v. Dzurenda ("The self-represented plaintiff, Ian Wright, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, dismissing count four of his complaint, brought against the defendant Bonnie Hakins, a counselor for the Department of Correction (department), in her individual capacity, on the ground that the plaintiff's action is barred for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred (1) in determining that he had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and (2) in considering the defendant's special defense that the plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies because the defendant had waived that special defense. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4596

AC43141 - Kenmore Road Assn., v. Bloomfield ("In this declaratory judgment action, the plaintiff, Kenmore Road Association, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a court trial, in favor of the defendant, the town of Bloomfield. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in concluding that Kenmore Road had neither been impliedly dedicated to public use nor impliedly accepted as a public road by the defendant or the public. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4598

AC43653 - Rockstone Capital, LLC v. Caldwell ("In this strict foreclosure action, we consider the enforceability of a settlement and forbearance agreement (settlement agreement) entered into by the plaintiff, Rockstone Capital, LLC, the defendants, Vicki A. Ditri and Morgan J. Caldwell, Jr., and Caldwell's business, Wesconn Automotive Center, LLC (Wesconn), that resulted from a collections action brought by the plaintiff against Caldwell and Wesconn. The plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a court trial, in favor of the defendant, on her special defense that the settlement agreement was unconscionable and, therefore, unenforceable. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the trial court improperly concluded that the settlement agreement was both procedurally and substantively unconscionable as to the defendant. We agree and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4597

AC43755 - Lift-Up, Inc. v. Colony Ins. Co. ("In this declaratory judgment action, the substitute plaintiffs, Dennis Kinman (Kinman) and Amy Kinman (jointly, Kinmans), appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant Colony Insurance Company (Colony) on the Kinmans' amended complaint and Colony's counterclaim.The litigation centers on whether Colony had a duty to defend the original plaintiffs, Lift-Up, Inc. (Lift-Up) and its president, Bruce Kutner, in a personal injury action that the Kinmans had brought against them. On appeal, the Kinmans' principal claim is that in granting Colony's motion for summary judgment, the court improperly construed the allegations of the operative complaint and the terms of the garage liability policy that Colony had issued to Lift-Up.More to the point, the Kinmans claim that the court improperly concluded as a matter of law that their injuries were not caused by an accident that resulted from Lift-Up's garage operations but, rather, arose out of Kutner's assault, battery, or assault and battery, for which the policy provides no coverage. The Kinmans also claim that the court improperly (1) ignored extrinsic evidence that they argue supported their claim that Colony had a duty to defend and (2) predicated its ruling on allegations of intentional and/or reckless conduct that were properly pleaded in the alternative. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4542

AC43984 - Warzecha v. USAA Casulty Ins. Co. ("The plaintiff, Keith Warzecha, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court, Noble, J., in favor of the defendant, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, on the plaintiff's two count amended complaint, which alleged breach of contract and sought a declaratory judgment. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in concluding that he was not entitled to liability coverage under the terms of his insurance policy. 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=4396

AC42885, AC42886 - Peterson v. iCare Management, LLC ("These two appeals arise from consolidated cases. The defendants in both actions, iCare Management, LLC, SecureCare Realty, LLC, and SecureCare Options, LLC (defendants), appeal from the judgments of the trial court denying their motions for summary judgment, in which they argued that the plaintiffs' claims were barred by res judicata and/or collateral estoppel. On appeal, the defendants claim that the trial court erred in denying their motions because the plaintiffs' claims were previously litigated in an earlier action. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")