The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Business Law Supreme Court Opinions

by Roy, Christopher


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.")