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.
Property Law

Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

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.")

Land Use Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

AC45645 - Miriam v. Summit Saugatuck, LLC ("In this action to enforce a restrictive covenant, the plaintiffs Selma Miriam and Leslie Ogilvy appeal from the judgment rendered by the trial court following its granting of a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant, Summit Saugatuck, LLC, and denial of their motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly determined, as a matter of law, that a common plan of development does not exist for certain lots of real property located within the historic Saugatuck neighborhood area of Westport, where both plaintiffs reside. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the court.")

Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

AC45065 - Cazenovia Creek Funding I, LLC v. White Eagle Society of Brotherly Help, Inc., Group 315, Polish National Alliance ("The named defendant, The White Eagle Society of Brotherly Help, Inc., Group 315, Polish National Alliance, appeals from the judgment of foreclosure by sale rendered by the trial court in favor of the substitute plaintiff, Benchmark Municipal Tax Services, Ltd. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) rendered summary judgment against it as to liability after determining that the tax liens for the grand lists of 2012 and 2013 properly were assigned to the plaintiff and (2) found that the debt was due to the plaintiff. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC45473 - U.S. Bank National Assn. v. Booker ("In this residential mortgage foreclosure action, the defendants Linda Booker and Ulish Booker, Jr., appeal from the trial court’s denial of their motion to open the judgment of strict foreclosure rendered in favor of the plaintiff U.S. Bank National Association as Legal Title Trustee for Truman 2016 SC6 Title Trust. The defendants claim that the court erred in denying their motion to open the judgment because the court improperly decided not to exercise its discretion and afford them relief in connection with the grounds of mistake and fraud raised therein. The plaintiff argues that this court should dismiss the appeal because (1) the defendants’ appeal is moot, as title in the mortgaged property has vested in the plaintiff, and (2) the defendants should not be allowed to raise their claim of error because it could have been raised in the defendants’ prior appeal in this action. The plaintiff also argues that the court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to open. We reject the plaintiff’s jurisdictional and reviewability arguments and conclude that the court properly denied the defendants’ motion to open. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the court.")

Civil Procedure Supreme Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

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.”